David Clarke is a cop who follows the letter of the law.
When the Milwaukee police officer parked his police cruiser near Milwaukee County War Memorial on Wednesday for a Veterans Day ceremony, he accidentally put it in a handicapped spot. Clarke later asked another officer to move the car, but when Clarke got back to his car after the ceremony was over, he found that it was still in the same place, Global News reported.
So Clarke pulled out his citation book and wrote a ticket — to himself.
Sheriff Clarke gets in trouble for parking in handicapped spot: Sheriff David Clarke wrote up a ticket yesterday… https://t.co/vWVQoAOPhO
— Milwaukee Buzz (@milwaukee_buzz) November 12, 2015
In a statement, Clarke explained,
“I pulled up in front of the War Memorial, got out of my squad car and directed a Captain to move the vehicle and properly park it. That order was not followed. When I came out of the Veterans Day event and noticed the vehicle still there and found out that my order was not followed, I ordered a county citation be written on the vehicle. I paid the fine of $35 and since the city parking fine exceeded that ($200) I made a personal donation to an organization that works with the disabled. That $235 total exceeds the city parking violation. I would rather the money go to a private org working with the disabled than to government. I have copies of all receipts. The rules are the same for my squad as any car except in an emergency or official business but not in a handicap area.”
Clarke is known for his national stature, including some controversial television appearances.
— The Good Doctor (@GrinSp00n) November 14, 2015
This is not the first time a member of the criminal justice system has issued a citation against themselves. In 2013, a Michigan judge who has a rule against cell phone use in his courtroom ended up holding himself in contempt when his own cell phone rang during proceedings.
Judge Raymond Voet had a policy posted at Ionia County 64A District Court strictly forbidding all electronic devices, USA Today noted, but during the closing argument of a jury trial, a cell phone began requesting voice commands.
Voet said he may have jostled the phone in his pocket.
“I’m guessing I bumped it. It started talking really loud, saying ‘I can’t understand you. Say something like Mom,'” he said.
Voet added that it was a new phone and he wasn’t familiar with how it worked, but said that was no excuse for it going off in the courtroom.
“That’s an excuse, but I don’t take those excuses from anyone else. I set the bar high, because cellphones are a distraction and there is very serious business going on,” he said. “The courtroom is a special place in the community, and it needs more respect than that.”
The story of David Clarke and his honesty is seen as a refreshing change to the many more critical stories of police officers and their actions. There has been a wave of stories highlighting police misconduct, including several questionable deaths, but many readers saw Clarke’s citation as a sign that the honest police officers still outnumber the bad apples.
The story was even one of the most popular on Reddit’s Uplifting News page.
In addition to paying his fine for parking in a handicapped spot, Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke said he ordered an internal investigation to learn why his order to move the car was not followed.
[Picture by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]