Democrats re­act to Clarke res­ig­na­tion as Walker pon­ders re­place­ment

Wisconsin Gazette - - Front Page -

When David A. Clarke Jr. re­signed with­out ex­pla­na­tion Aug. 31, it left Wis­con­sin Gov. Scott Walker with the power to ap­point Milwaukee County's next sher­iff.

Clarke later an­nounced he's tak­ing a po­si­tion as se­nior ad­viser and spokesman for Amer­ica First Ac­tion, a pro-Trump su­per PAC.

Clarke's res­ig­na­tion capped a tu­mul­tuous year for the di­vi­sive, provoca­tive law­man with a na­tional fol­low­ing among some con­ser­va­tives. Though he al­ways ran as a Demo­crat, he ad­dressed the Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion in 2016, par­roted far­right-wing po­si­tions and sup­ported Don­ald Trump as a can­di­date and as pres­i­dent.

But while Clarke gained the ad­mi­ra­tion of some con­ser­va­tive back­ers of Trump, he faced law­suits back home and crit­i­cism over the op­er­a­tions at the county jail he over­saw, where four in­mates died last year. One of the in­mates — a men­tally ill man — died of de­hy­dra­tion be­cause jail staff shut off wa­ter to his soli­tary cell as pun­ish­ment.

DEMOCRATS RE­ACT

Many in Wis­con­sin's pro­gres­sive com­mu­nity is­sued state­ments wel­com­ing Clarke's res­ig­na­tion but vow­ing he would not es­cape ac­count­abil­ity for abuse com­mit­ted on his watch. Among them:

“This is a vic­tory for the peo­ple of Milwaukee County and the state of Wis­con­sin. … The ef­forts of im­mi­grant fam­i­lies and our coali­tion part­ners to hold Clarke ac­count­able for his dis­crim­i­na­tory abuses, for the tor­ture, sex­ual abuse and deaths at the hands of his guards in his jail, have won this vic­tory. We de­manded his res­ig­na­tion and … we have suc­ceeded.”

“This news is bit­ter­sweet, as we are left with in­com­plete an­swers re­gard­ing what led to the mas­sive fail­ures in his jail. Sadly, the pub­lic may never get a full ac­count­ing from Clarke re­gard­ing his fail­ures, which is why it is im­por­tant for the le­gal sys­tem to take what­ever ac­tion they deem ap­pro­pri­ate.” “I want to thank Sher­iff Clarke for his de­ci­sion to step down. Af­ter years of abuse at his hands, the peo­ple of Milwaukee can sleep soundly tonight.” “I will con­tinue to push Gov. Scott Walker and the Jus­tice Depart­ment to hold Clarke re­spon­si­ble for the lives de­stroyed un­der his watch like Ter­rill Thomas', Michael Mad­den's, Kristina Fiebrink's and Shadé Swayzer's new­born baby girl.

“In the mean­time, I call on Gov. Walker to ap­point a sher­iff who will take their job se­ri­ously, value com­pas­sion over con­de­scen­sion and put peo­ple be­fore pol­i­tics.”

PHOTO: GAGE SKID­MORE

For­mer Milwaukee County Sher­iff David Clarke.

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