Will Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Take Responsibility for the Company He Keeps? Doubtful.

Clarke Proudly Touts Endorsement of Radical Who Called for Using Women as Human Shields in Standoff With Federal Authorities, Instead of Apologizing

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MADISON, Wis. — Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke talks a lot about taking responsibility, but as is often the case with Tea Party darling Clarke, his talk is not backed up by action. One recent example of Clarke’s hypocrisy is the endorsement he received from right-wing radical Richard Mack, Executive Director of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA).

“It’s way past time for David Clarke to stop talking about responsibility and step up and take some for a change,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “He might want to start by condemning the outrageous comments of Richard Mack, who called for using women as human shields in a standoff with authorities trying to enforce federal law.”

Mack’s group encourages local sheriffs to refuse to enforce federal gun safety laws. Earlier this year he traveled to Nevada to appear with rancher Cliven Bundy, who engaged in an armed standoff with federal authorities. Mack called for using women as human shields, saying, “If they are going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers.”

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, who researches domestic militias and other right-wing and racist organizations, Mack was involved in the resurgence of the so-called “Patriot movement” that “define themselves as opposed to the ‘New World Order,’ engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing, or advocate or adhere to extreme antigovernment doctrines.”

The Mack headed CSPOA also is soliciting members and supporters to donate to Clarke’s campaign fund on their website. An analysis of Clarke’s most recent campaign finance report found over 61 percent of his campaign funds came from outside of Wisconsin, and nearly 79 percent of his individual donations were from outside of the state.

While cavorting with Mack and travelling the country to speak to fringe Tea Party and other rightwing organizations the management of the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s office has suffered, taxpayer funds have been wasted and citizens are less safe. Clarke disbanded the Sheriff’s anti-gang squad and gun violence task forces and is not investigating homicides and sexual assaults. Also under Clarke, the Sheriff’s Department failed to gather DNA samples from 561 inmates, making it harder for police to resolve unsolved murders and sexual assaults. More recently it’s been reported that deputies have been allowed to earn overtime while sitting in chairs at the county courthouse.

Ross concluded, “David Clarke has a lot to apologize for based on the company he keeps, his conduct in office and his management of the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s office. If he needs a suggestion, touting the endorsement of a right-wing radical who calls for law enforcement officers to refuse to enforce federal laws and advocates for using women as human shields would be a good place to start.”

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One Wisconsin Now specializes in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.