Three Milwaukee Legislators Call for Sheriff Clarke's Removal

Dec 14, 2016

If Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke does not resign, three Democrats from Milwaukee want Governor Walker to remove Clarke from office.

State Sen. Chris Larson and Reps. Christine Sinicki and Jonathan Brostoff call Clarke "a dangerous menace," citing four deaths that have occurred in the county jail in recent months, including of a newborn.

In a letter the three legislators released Wednesday, they criticize Clarke, who oversees the jail, for a lack of supervision there. "No officer has been disciplined, no policy has been changed, and the public has not been given adequate information," the lawmakers write.

They list other complaints about the sheriff, including reports that he threatened the county medical examiner, forced employees to take part in religious sessions in 2006 and called for the use of 'pitchforks and torches' in recent political posts.

The lawmakers' call for Clarke's resignation follows a similar demand made on Dec. 9 by the group Progressive Moms of Milwaukee. Members visited Clarke's office, leaving diapers, and joined a few other voices advocating for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of the jail deaths. Clarke responded to the group via a Facebook message, saying, "The name 'Progressive Moms' alone tells me everything I need to know about this politically motivated and politically-orchestrated Democrat Party operative. This is what is meant by Fake News."

Sheriff Clarke has won accolades from several law enforcement groups in other states for his unwavering, vocal support of constitutional protections.

On Thursday, members of the Milwaukee County Board will consider a proposal that would mandate outside reviews of deaths that occur in at least some Milwaukee County detention facilities.