When was the last time Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke made headlines for having done something worthy of praise? Probably never.
The controversial sheriff had an unpleasant exchange with a fellow plane passenger during a January American Airlines flight from Dallas to Milwaukee, and apparently, that was enough to trigger Clarke's sense of revenge. Now, the victim of his ire is suing the infamous law enforcer, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
The incident that prompted this legal battle began when Dan Black, 24, asked Clarke if he was the famous sheriff. Once Clarke responded positively, Black shook his head. According to the suit, the sheriff asked Black if he had a problem, to which the other passenger said “no.” Black says he then moved on and took his seat.
But once the plane arrived at its destination, Clarke allegedly sent a text message to Captain Mark Witek, telling him to target Black and bring him aside for an interview. The instructions read:
“Just a field interview, no arrest unless he become (sic) an asshole with your guys. Question for him is why he said anything to me. Why didn’t he just keep his mouth shut? Follow him to baggage and out the door. You can escort me to carousel after I point him out.”
Black said he decided to sue the sheriff, other deputies, and Milwaukee County for having him detained, interviewed, and escorted out of the airport. He said this incident was an unlawful stop and arrest that violated his constitutional right not to be unreasonably searched.
But according to Clarke's attorneys, Black stood over the sheriff during the exchange in a “physically threatening manner” and never replied when Clarke asked if Black had a problem.
“There was absolutely no basis for this incident, and I believe I was the victim of the sheriff’s abuse of power,” Black wrote in his initial complaint.
After Black went public with the charges, Clarke doubled down, saying that anyone who harasses him on a flight runs the risk of being “knocked out.” The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office official Facebook page also posted a meme making little of Black's complaint by calling it a “tantrum.”
Milwaukee County auditors are currently investigating this incident but claim Clarke has not been cooperative as he believes this is a “fake investigation.”
We surely hope he isn't right; after all, not liking someone isn't a crime. And as a matter of fact, the act of being vocal about your dislike for anything or anyone should be protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees us the right to free speech.
But perhaps, Clarke doesn't care to admit to that. Not only because he enjoys ignoring the law when it comes to people under his care, but also because he acts as if government-sponsored theft is morally and legally justifiable.
By carrying on with these actions of abuse and mistreatment, Clarke will only continue to perpetuate the notion that law enforcement agents are corrupt and dishonest.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters