FBI Affidavit Details Ex-Sheriff David Clarke’s Intimidation Of Fellow Airline Passenger


By Mary Papenfuss
HuffPost (12/30/17)

Former Sheriff David Clarke abused his authority when he ordered the mistreatment and intimidation of a fellow passenger on a flight to Milwaukee in January, according to a newly revealed FBI search warrant affidavit, because Clarke assumed the man was showing disrespect toward the right-wing Donald Trump booster.

The affidavit, which had requested a search of Clarke’s private email account, was revealed as part of a filing in U.S. District Court in Wisconsin on Thursday. It’s unclear if it indicates continued interest by the FBI or just details information from months earlier.

In May, federal prosecutors informed Clarke’s attorney that they weren’t going to pursue charges against him over his encounter with passenger Dan Black. But according to the affidavit, filed in March, investigators for the Audit Services Division of the Milwaukee County controller’s office determined as part of its own investigation that Clarke had “used his official position as sheriff of Milwaukee County in excess of his lawful authority to direct his deputies to stop and question Black without legal justification.”

The unsealed affidavit was first spotted in the new federal court filing by a Detroit Free Press reporter. 

Feds dropped their case against him in May, but Milwaukee investigators determined he had abused his authority, the filing reveals.

According to the affidavit, Black told Milwaukee investigators that he spotted Clarke after the men boarded the Milwaukee-bound plane in Dallas on Jan. 15. When he asked Clarke if he was, in fact, the sheriff, and Clarke confirmed it, Black said he shook his head. When Clarke asked him if he had a “problem” with that, Black said he didn’t respond because he didn’t want to get in trouble. Investigators found Black’s account credible, according to the affidavit.

Clarke texted one of his officers to detain Black upon arrival in Wisconsin, according to the affidavit. “Just a field interview, no arrest unless he becomes an asshole with your guys,” Clarke texted, according to a screenshot obtained of the texts. “Question for him is why he said anything to me. Why didn’t he just keep his mouth shut?”

Black was then met by six deputies and two police dogs, according to a complaint he filed against Clarke with the Milwaukee County Executive’s Office. Black was detained and questioned by deputies about “remarks” he had made to Clarke, which Black denied, and then was escorted to a friend’s car to leave the airport.

Officers encouraged to harass

The affidavit was filed by FBI special agent Jennifer Walkowski, who initially asked that it be sealed, to obtain a search warrant to access Clarke’s emails through Google. It accuses Clarke of using his email account to encourage his staff to attack Black online in posts on the official Facebook page for the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office.

One post included Black’s complaint with the comment: “Next time he or anyone else pulls this stunt on a plane they may get knocked out.” Such messages, including one calling Black a “snowflake,” were likely either written by Clarke or “he directed his staff to post the messages for him,” states the affidavit. …

Read the Rest and View Court Documents

(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free to use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )

  • Tough Talkin’ Cowboy Hat Rack David Clarke Threatens To Make Media ‘Taste Their Own Blood’ – Former Milwaukee County sheriff and Donald Trump ally David Clarke has threatened to make the media “taste their own blood,” following news reports of bombshell allegations in an FBI affidavit that he sicced deputies on a fellow airplane passenger almost a year ago. Clarke, who resigned as sheriff in August, made the threat in a tweet Saturday following stories about the affidavit that was unsealed on Thursday. He also warned “libs” to “bring a hard hat” because “I’m going to smack you around.” … Read the Rest
  • Here’s What Sheriff Clarke’s Chest Full Of Medals Really Mean – [Former] Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke emerged onto the national scene last year with his fervent support of Republican Donald Trump, despite the fact he was a Democrat. Clarke’s embrace of Trump’s politics — and of Trump’s intemperate rhetorical style — earned him a speaking slot at the Republican convention last year. It also overlapped with a great deal of scrutiny about his behavior as sheriff, including a number of deaths at jails under his jurisdiction. Clarke’s political energy and background made him a deeply controversial figure, and the subject of a great deal of praise and criticism. Earlier this month, he became the target of a perhaps unexpected bit of critique, when a veteran took issue with Clarke’s appearance at the convention. “Look at this f‑‑‑ing guy’s uniform,” Charles Clymer wrote on Twitter. “You see all that s‑‑t pinned all over his dress uniform jacket? That’s not supposed to be there.” His objection was that the decorations on Clarke’s uniform project “authority” — but that they themselves are meaningless. “Colin Powell once described a dress uniform as a soldier’s résumé,” he wrote. “You can tell what they’ve done by their ribbons and badges.” More ribbons and medals mean a lengthier résumé, in other words — which wasn’t the case with Clarke’s regalia. … Read the Rest