Sheriff David Clarke, who heads the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department, has reportedly accepted a position with the United States Department of Homeland Security. Although DHS has not confirmed the appointment, sources said the controversial sheriff would serve as the department’s Assistant Secretary for Partnership and Engagement.
Despite the fact that he is a registered Democrat, Sheriff David Clarke has been vocal in his criticism of traditionally liberal issues, including abortion, the Black Lives Matter movement, civil rights, and gun control. He has also been candid about his strong support of current President Donald Trump.
Throughout his career with the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department, David Clarke received stark criticism for his handling of county funds.
According to an audit, which was completed in September 2012, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department did not violate the law. However, the auditor identified several potential issues.
As reported by the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, assets seized during drug raids and other similar investigations are routinely forfeited to the arresting agency per the United States Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program.
Law enforcement agencies have the option of spending the funds to “compensate victims and deter crime.” Although the agencies are given “considerable discretion” on how the forfeited assets are used, guidelines are outlined in the DOJ’s Guide to Equitable Sharing for State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies. Each agency is also required to submit an accounting of the expenditures and supporting documentation.
Between 2008 and 2012, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department used forfeited assets to purchase physical fitness equipment and gear, training via Disney Destinations, horses and other equipment for the mounted patrol, flat-screen televisions, and numerous vehicles.
Sheriff Clarke defended the expenditures as necessary for the continued improvement of the department. However, critics argued that some of the expenses, including those associated with the mounted patrol, were unnecessary.
Although the auditor concluded that all of the the expenses “fell within permissible program criteria,” he urged the Sheriff’s Department to “improve program compliance in some areas.”
Sheriff David Clarke has also received stark criticism for several controversies surrounding the Milwaukee County House of Correction. Most recently, corrections officers were blamed for the dehydration death of Terrill Thomas.
On April 24, 2016, Terrill Thomas, 38, was found unresponsive in his cell at the Milwaukee County House of Correction. An autopsy later confirmed the inmate, who suffered from mental illness, died of “profound dehydration.” According to reports, corrections officers turned off Thomas’ water supply after he left the water running and flooded another cell.
As reported by the Washington Post, authorities confirmed Terrill Thomas “endured seven days without any liquid” and subsequently lost a great deal of weight. Prosecutors argued that the inmate was visibly weak and clearly needed medical attention, which he was denied.
Sheriff David Clarke gained nationwide attention last year amid a series of remarks and social media posts about several controversial political topics.
When Trump approached him about a Homeland Security job, Sheriff David Clarke’s only question: “Does it come with a cute costume?” pic.twitter.com/QAGAmpvWOS
— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) May 18, 2017
The sheriff, who is a black man, has received specific criticism for his negative remarks about the Black Lives Matter movement and the black community in general.
On August 13, 2016, residents took to the streets of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to protest the fatal police shooting of 23-year-old Sylville Smith.
In an August 15 article, which was published by The Hill, Sheriff David Clarke openly condemned those who participated in the demonstration and subsequent riot.
In Clarke’s opinion, the protestors exhibited “tribal behavior.” He further stated that “the law of the jungle replaced the rule of law… ”
According to his Milwaukee.Gov biography, Sheriff David Clarke has “38-plus years” of experience in law enforcement. The controversial official spent 24 years on the Milwaukee Police Department, where he began as a patrol officer and was eventually promoted to Commanding Officer of the department’s Intelligence Division.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) May 18, 2017
In 2002, David Clarke was elected as Sheriff of Milwaukee County. He is currently serving his fourth term. Although his appointment was not confirmed by the DOJ or the White House, Sheriff Clarke confirmed his appointment as the department’s Assistant Secretary for Partnership and Engagement during a Thursday interview with WISN.
[Featured Image by Susan Walsh/Associated Press]