From the Minneapolis StarTribune:
MILWAUKEE — The tough-talking sheriff of Milwaukee County, David Clarke, resigned without explanation Thursday, capping a tumultuous year for the divisive, provocative lawman whose unabashed support for President Donald Trump and in-your-face personality earned him a national following among some conservatives.
(Don’t squint, my darling Raisinettes, click on image for larger version)
Clarke submitted his resignation in a one-sentence letter to the county clerk that gave no reason for his departure more than a year before his term is up. In a brief statement a couple of hours later, Clarke also didn’t explain.
“I have chosen to retire to pursue other opportunities,” the statement said. “I will have news about my next steps in the very near future.”
The national spotlight shone on Clarke during the Republican National Convention last year, when the cowboy-hat-wearing sheriff took the stage as one of the few African-Americans to speak in support of Trump’s candidacy.
But while Clarke gained the admiration of conservative backers of Trump, he faced lawsuits back home and criticism over the operations at the county jail he oversaw, where four inmates died last year. One of the inmates died of dehydration because jail staff shut off water to his cell as punishment.
Clarke’s many liberal foes welcomed his departure.
Voces de la Frontera, an advocacy group for immigrants and low-wage workers, had sharply criticized Clarke for seeking authority for his deputies to perform the functions of immigration agents.
The firebrand sheriff made himself a darling of the political right through his brash social media presence, his staunch support for Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration and his support for patrolling Muslim neighborhoods.
He has been vocal about gun rights and critical of what he called the “hateful ideology” of the Black Lives Matters movement, saying at times, “Stop trying to fix the police. Fix the ghetto.”
Clarke announced in May that he had taken a job at the Department of Homeland Security, but the agency never confirmed it. He later said he withdrew his name. He recently published a memoir, “Cop Under Fire.” On Sunday, Trump sent a tweet promoting the book.
But while he remained popular with some, he faced repeated calls for his resignation from state and local officials who criticized him for spending too much time away from Milwaukee, earning more than $105,000 last year in speaking fees — almost as much as his sheriff’s salary — at more than three dozen events across the country. He was also a frequent guest on Fox News programs.
This year, two former inmates who were pregnant during their time at the sheriff’s jail filed lawsuits alleging they were shackled while giving birth. And the family of the man who died of dehydration, Terrill Thomas, also filed federal lawsuits.
At the same time, Milwaukee prosecutors are considering criminal charges against some members of Clarke’s jail staff for Thomas’ death. A lengthy inquest in that case revealed that Clarke’s staff routinely shut off water to inmates’ cells as a form of punishment.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker would be responsible for appointing someone to serve the remainder of Clarke’s term, which runs through 2018. Walker’s spokesman Tom Evenson said once he receives official notification of his resignation, the process of finding a replacement will begin.