Sheriff David Clarke directed officers to hassle man after brief exchange on plane: report


Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wis., reportedly directed some of his officers to hassle a man at an airport after Clarke and the man had a brief verbal exchange, according to a new report.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Clarke and the man, 24-year-old Dan Black, had a brief verbal exchange aboard an American Airlines flight in January. Clarke claims that Black asked him if he was Sheriff Clarke.

Clarke’s claims come as a response to a lawsuit filed by Black against Clarke, Milwaukee County and several unnamed deputies, according to the Journal Sentinel.

After Black and Clarke’s exchange, Clarke sent a text message to Captain Mark Witek telling Witek what to do with Black.

“Just a field interview, no arrest unless he becomes an asshole with your guys,” Clarke wrote. “Follow him to baggage and out the door.”

{mosads}“Question for him is, why he said anything to me,” Clarke continued. “Why didn’t he just keep his mouth shut?”

Black says he was detained, interviewed and escorted out of the Milwaukee airport by six deputies after the incident, according to the report.

After Black filed a harassment complaint against Clarke, Clarke taunted Black on his Facebook page.

“Cheer up, Snowflake,” the post read, which included a photo of Black. “If Sheriff Clarke were to really harass you, you wouldn’t be around to whine about it.”

Clarke also issued a statement via the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office following the complaint.

“Next time he or anyone else pulls this stunt on a plane they may get knocked out. The sheriff said he does not have to wait for some goof to assault him. He reserves the reasonable right to pre-empt a possible assault,” the statement read.

In Clarke’s version of what happened on the plane, he says he was sitting in his first-class seat when Black boarded the plane. 

Black stopped near his seat and asked if he was Sheriff Clarke. When Clarke responded that he was, the sheriff claimed that Black stood over Clarke in “a physically threatening manner” and “shook his head at him for a prolonged period of time.” 

Black, who the Sentinel notes is a few inches shorter than Clarke, has a different version of events. He does not say that he stood over Clarke in a threatening manner. He said he asked Clarke, who was wearing Dallas Cowboys attire instead of his usual Stetson hat, if he was really the sheriff. Clarke responded that he was and asked Black if he had a problem with that, according to Black, who said he did not. 

Clarke, an outspoken supporter of President Trump, said last week that he had accepted a job in the Department of Homeland Security. DHS has so far made no confirmation that Clarke has received the job. 

It was reported last week that Clarke plagiarized part of his master’s thesis on U.S. homeland security at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. 


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