MADISON, Wis. — Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke spent his summer and fall on the stump campaigning for Donald Trump. Now Clarke is said to be a contender for appointment as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security under Trump. Meanwhile, this year has seen a string of fatal incidents at the Milwaukee County Jail that Clarke oversees, including the death of a newborn.
“Tragically, there have been four fatal incidents on David Clarke’s watch since April 2016, including a newborn,” said One Wisconsin Now Research Director Jenni Dye. “It is dangerous and horrifying to think that someone as manifestly incapable of running a county jail as David Clarke is considered by Donald Trump and his team to a qualified, credible candidate for a key role in protecting our nation.”
According to a notice of claim, jail staff ignored pleas for help from a 30 year old woman who was nine months pregnant and being held for a probation violation in the Milwaukee County Jail. The woman gave birth while being held and the newborn died. According to media reports the woman has filed a notice of claim against the office of Sheriff Clarke.
Clarke had previously claimed the woman did not notify jail staff she was going into labor. He is now reportedly on a cruise in the Bahamas sponsored by the National Review magazine and through his office has refused comment on the legal action being commenced over the newborn’s death.
Unfortunately, this tragedy is not an isolated one. Three other individuals have died while in custody at the Clarke run jail since April. In the case of a 38 year old man who died of dehydration while incarcerated the manner of death was ruled homicide and local authorities are investigating the death as a criminal matter.
Clarke has been Milwaukee County Sheriff since being appointed to the position in 2002 by then Republican Governor Scott McCallum. He has since become a national figure through his outrageous statements like calls for armed insurrection, close association with right-wing groups that support the nullification of laws by local law enforcement officials, and extensive campaigning around the country on behalf of Donald Trump.
Dye concluded, “David Clarke has shown he’s more concerned with promoting himself and his radical political agenda than doing his job. It’s proven to be deadly for people in Milwaukee County under the supervision of his office. With his track record, entrusting him with any role in protecting the security of our nation would be irresponsible in the extreme.”