AG Schimel Should Go To Jail

Yeah, I know that’s a provocative headline and no I don’t really think that Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel has done anything that deserves incarceration.

But I am embarrassed that I haven’t written about this subject before. Four people have died while incarcerated in the Milwaukee County Jail in 2016. The jail run by County Sheriff David Clarke. Now deaths by inmates in custody in county jails do happen from time to time…but four is a pretty egregious number in less than a year. And two of them are particularly troubling. One male inmate with mental health issues died from dehydration after having the water turned off in his cell. The other was a newborn who didn’t survive the night when jail personnel ignored the mother’s statement that she was going into labor. By the time they checked her in the morning the baby was dead.

But as far as the public can tell nobody is investigating it. A recent law was passed in Wisconsin that requires that investigations of civilian deaths in police custody or by a police officer be carried out by an outside law enforcement agency. Unfortunately when this bill passed it intentionally excluded deaths of inmates in county jails. So the investigative agency for these four death in the Milwaukee County Jail are being carried out by the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department, the same department that runs the jail.

There have been a number of calls for outside investigations from the media and the families involved. There have been a number of calls for Sheriff Clarke’s resignation by elected officials. But nothing is moving forward as far as we can tell.

So I would request that AG Schimel send a team to Milwaukee and visit the jail and investigate these four deaths in particular and the general overall handling of the jail. And if anything is amiss to bring charges against those responsible. It’s been long enough without action and the Wisconsin Dept of Justice is the appropriate agency.

Side note to the state legislature: Fix the loophole that allows deaths in custody at county jails to be investigated by the jailors!

University drops Sheriff David Clarke as speaker after he requests rock-star arrangements

It sounds like somebody needs to get over himself.

David A. Clarke Jr. — Milwaukee County’s globetrotting sheriff — says the University of New Haven rescinded his upcoming speaking engagement because of his criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Clarke is now urging people to contact the university president directly or to sign a petition demanding the president of the Connecticut school bring Clarke in for a speech and apologize to him. More than 2,500 people have signed the petition.

“Ask the President for the truth about why my invite was rescinded,” Clarke wrote in a blog post Thursday. “Ask him what he knew about this and when he knew it. Ask him if he approved it and — if so — why.

“Tell him Sheriff Clarke sent you.”

But university officials say they never reached an agreement or signed a contract with the Milwaukee sheriff, adding that he priced himself out of the engagement by demanding rock-star travel arrangements.

Specifically, they say Clarke, who is spending much of his time on the road, asked for first-class airfare, a presidential hotel suite and transportation from the airport in a black SUV. He did not request a speaking fee.

Sheriff David Clarke’s deathtrap

According to a report last week in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the death of Terrill Thomas while he was confined in the Milwaukee County Jail has been ruled a homicide after the cause of Thomas’ death was “profound dehydration.” According to accounts from other inmates, the water in Thomas’ cell had been shut off for six days .

The death of an inmate in the Milwaukee County Jail has been ruled a homicide, four months after corrections officers reportedly cut off his water supply for an extended period of time.

The cause of death was dehydration, with other significant conditions including bipolar disorder, according to autopsy results released Thursday by the Milwaukee County medical examiner’s office.

Terrill Thomas, 38, was found unresponsive in his cell on April 24, nine days after being arrested for shooting a man in the chest and later firing two shots in the Potawatomi casino.

His family said he was in the throes of a mental breakdown when he was arrested. At the time of his death, he was awaiting a court-ordered psychiatric examination.

In July, the Journal Sentinel reported that inmates in cells near Thomas heard him beg for water days before his death and saw the water faucet in his cell had been shut off.

As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article notes, Terrill Thomas death at the hands of David Clarke’s jail staff isn’t an isolated incident – during a four-year period 10 people died in custody of David Clarke’s Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Clarke Runs Amok, County Exec Abele Talks Sense, and a Judge Starts the Healing

Following the Sherman Park riots on August 13th and 14th, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke decided to close Milwaukee County park, Sherman Park, at 6 PM each day. The normal time for county parks to close is 10 PM. In the short term this made some sense but in the passing days and then weeks, the residents requested that the park be returned to normal. Obviously the neighborhood wanted to heal. And there were several weekly events held in the park that were being interrupted that were designed to help area youth and others.

Well Sheriff Clarke ignored the requests of neighborhood residents and kept the 6 PM curfew in place. That was common knowledge but nearly everyone in the city other than the sheriff were wondering why. What I didn’t know was the park was also enclosed in orange plastic snow fencing…an intimidating and extremely ugly presence in the park.

But then this Sunday it got more interesting!

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele announced Sunday that Sherman Park…would resume its normal operating hours, setting up a showdown with Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., who had imposed shortened hours in the wake of the unrest.

…he (Abele) reinstated the county park’s normal operating hours and had the fencing removed — only to have Clarke reinstall the barrier and threaten to arrest anyone, including Abele, who refused to leave the park after 6 p.m.

Acting on a legal opinion by the county’s top attorney, Abele on Sunday reinstated the park’s 10 p.m. closing time and ordered the removal of the fencing, calling it “a literal and figurative barrier standing in the way of healing in the Sherman Park neighborhood.”

Within hours Sunday, Clarke ordered his deputies to replace the fence, and said in an email to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the park would remain closed from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. as a matter of public safety until he decides otherwise.

Well, not to let this rest, County Exec Abele then sought and gained a court injunction against the sheriff closing down the park again:

Milwaukee County Circuit Judge David Hansher on Sunday issued a temporary restraining order barring Clarke from closing the park early, and he ordered the removal of bright orange snow fencing that has lined the park for all but a few hours since rioting broke out in the surrounding neighborhood over a two-day period last month.

Hansher ordered sheriff’s deputies not to impede public access to the park “in the absence of any genuine, bona fide reason related to maintaining law and order and preserving the peace.”

He also chastised Clarke for failing to appear in court and not sending an attorney, calling it “contemptuous of the civil proceeding and the public’s right to have a hearing.”

“The sheriff is not above the law,” Hansher said.

A follow up hearing is set for Wednesday…and someone from the Sheriff’s Department had better show up this time…although it’s even money the sheriff himself won’t show up.

Hansher scheduled a hearing on a permanent restraining order for 2 p.m. Wednesday. He said if Clarke attempted to unnecessarily impede access to the park, he would find the sheriff in contempt of court.

All of this is typical of the ongoing feud between the sheriff and the county exec.

But the really telling statement on this whole thing is the very last paragraph of the article:

“I feel like instead of acting like a bully, Clarke should come down and talk with us,” Major (Dee Major – an area resident) said. “There is nothing wrong here.”

So besides not evening listening to the requests of the neighborhood, the sheriff hasn’t even visited the area?

Sheriff Clarke is up for re-election in 2018…plenty of time to find a qualified candidate to run against him!

Sheriff Clarke Panders To His Handlers and Disses Hillary Clinton

Once again Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke went on Fox News to disparage the President of the United States in the support of the fascist GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump. But this is typical Sheriff Clarke rhetoric…but in taking a swipe at Hillary Clinton…he dissed her without using her real name…he referred to her as Mrs. Bill Clinton. Just a little old school semantics you say? Bulloney…just like the term ‘This President’ is set up to disparage the president…this is intentionally designed as a clever way of dissing Ms. Clinton and defining her via her husband. Right Wing misogyny at it’s finest. Anyway…here’s the article from JS Online:

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., interviewed about violence and threats of violence at Donald Trump campaign rallies, doesn’t blame Trump’s rhetoric.

Clarke was interviewed Saturday by Fox News talk show host Neil Cavuto. Cavuto asked Clarke whether Trump should urge calm at his rallies:

“Well, I’m not going to tell Donald Trump what he should say. He knows what he’s doing in his campaign. But I would ask the other question, Neil,” Clarke replied.

“I would say, look at some of the rhetoric and language used by Mrs. Bill Clinton and Bernie Sanders at their rallies and at their debates. How they criticize the police, they attack the police, they stoke up racial animosity. The president of the United States is the one that created this division, stoking up racial discord, class warfare, gender warfare, for the last eight years. For people to blame this on Donald Trump, is way out of bounds.”

Republican rivals say the violence is a natural outgrowth of Trump’s rhetoric, such as statements that he would like to punch a protester in the face, but Trump on Sunday rejected responsibility for violence at his rallies.

When the 2018 election cycle is upon us, flipping the Sheriff’s office has to rank right up there with the governor’s office…

This President

This president…a pretty simple neutral sounding sentence fragment. Perfect for any number of uses in a newscast, newspaper article, political speech or a blog post like this one. But if you listen to Fox News for any length of time you’ll soon realize they use it as a pejorative…to denigrate the president…to project a negative image without actually having to say President Obama out loud. And it runs through not only their on air staff but their guest commentators as well. Milwaukee County Sheriff Clarke used it in one of his fantasy island appearances and even Marco Rubio has used it in interviews now.

So how did this become a thing? Who determined that they needed code words to be rude to our president? And how did they get everyone else to buy into it.

It’s ugly…you can hear the vitriol in their voices as they say it…you can sense the bile running down their chin as they spit it out…so this little neutral sounding phrase becomes a semi-secret handshake amongst the anti-Obama clique. How the heck did we get to this?

Sheriff Clarke Sues County Exec Abele Over First Amendment?

Well here’s a good one…Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is accusing Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele of infringing on the good sheriff’s 1st Amendment rights of free speech by trying to cut millions of dollars out of the sheriff departments budget last year. Really…I mean…really?

Well I guess if you take Citizens United to an absurd conclusion that all money is free speech…then maybe the sheriff has a point…except it isn’t his money…and from what I can see he is blathering all over the airwaves and in print as much as ever…so I don’t know what’s being infringed. But on with the story:

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. scored a huge victory late last year when county supervisors overrode plans by Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele to cut the sheriff’s budget by $4 million.

But Clarke was not done with his longtime political foe. The sheriff has now sued Abele over that budget fight.

Clarke’s claim: His First Amendment rights were violated by the county exec.

“We’re asking a judge to enjoin the county executive from using the budget process to retaliate against any county official for speaking out on matters of public concern,” said Michael. A. I. Whitcomb, the private attorney representing Clarke.

In other words, the sheriff is asking a judge to issue an order telling Abele to follow the U.S. Constitution.

Well at this point this is as absurd as it seems but here is a little more of the rationale behind it:

In his November veto message, Abele said he could not support raising property taxes by 1.4% “to validate the sheriff for his repeated incendiary comments and his out of touch views on criminal justice and our society.”

So yeah this is a little bit personal but I think the sheriff dost protest too much…considering stuff like this:

In the past, Clarke has accused the county exec of having “penis envy” and being an “expert on immaturity.”

If you follow through on this link there is plenty more such talk from both sides.

But here is a bit of the logic from Sheriff Clarke’s suit:

“Executive Abele violated Sheriff Clarke’s First Amendment rights by vetoing the County Board’s amendment that added $4 million for the Office of the Sheriff in the 2016 budget in retaliation for Sheriff Clarke’s speech criticized by Executive Abele in his veto,” Clarke’s suit said.

Yeah well except it seems to me that would need an actual infringement of some sort but Sheriff Clarke is still all over the airwaves on Milwaukee radio and I even saw him on Fox News spouting off about something while I was in Thailand recently. So his ability to speak his mind has not been inhibited in anyway.

But maybe this is the kicker from Sheriff Clarke:

He also said the remarks were made in his capacity as a citizen and not as a part of his official duties

What? Then why do most of his written pronouncements come out on official stationary of the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department or in public service announcements produced by his department and why is he in full uniform and regalia whenever he appears at a press conference or on Fox News? When he is acting as a private citizen he should look and dress like one!

I expect the courts will toss this for the frivolous lawsuit that it is and not waste another dime of the sheriff’s department budget…i.e taxpayer dollars!

Sheriff David Clarke’s disgraceful response on Paris terror attacks

From Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s Twitter feed comes this tweet about the Paris terror attacks:

Sheriff Clarke’s tweet sums up how craven, opportunistic, and political so many conservatives can be when it comes to national security and the war on terror. Instead of trying to figure solutions to these problems, they’d rather worry about how to use them to win elections.

VIDEO: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries dismantles Sheriff David Clarke on police reform & equal protection

During a recent appearance by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on police reform, Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries confronted Sheriff Clarke over the blue wall of silence, the need for equal protection under the law for everyone and the unjust death of Eric Garner.

Considering how little Sheriff Clarke’s agency does to actually combat crime in Milwaukee County, it’s curious to see him testify before Congress as if he’s an expert on how to fight crime. After all, this is the same “crimefighter” who once tried to help a drunk driver get back on the road after that drunk driver drove off the freeway and into a ditch.

Was it really necessary for Gov. Scott Walker to call up the National Guard?

Calling out the National Guard to quell peaceful people protesting the use of violence is absolutely idiotic.

ne day after more than 70 were arrested for protesting the Dontre Hamilton shooting, the National Guard has been called up to help.

A spokesperson from Wisconsin National Guard says soldiers are being notified of the call up.

They received a request on Saturday from Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. Governor Scott Walker has approved the use.

Earlier today Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm announced former Milwaukee Police officer Christopher Manney will not face charges after he shot and killed Dontre Hamilton, and while many citizens gathered to voice their opposition to that decision, I have not heard any reports of violence by those who gathered. The fact that Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke felt compelled to ask for the National Guard to be called up to police the streets of Milwaukee speaks volumes about his failure as our county’s elected Sheriff, especially considering the drastic cuts in sworn law enforcement personnel in the Sheriff’s Department since Clarke was first elected.