Former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke made a name for himself during the Obama years as the lone African American man of the law who was willing to stand up and talk tough in the face of the first African American president.
For that, the very anti-Obama FOX News made him a national celebrity and featured him on their network whenever it was optically advantageous, like during their coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement that formed after the suspicious deaths of multiple Black men at the hands of law enforcement.
Clarke’s Red-State loyalty also earned him a starring role at the Republican National Convention, and he showed-up dressed to the nines in his formal uniform resplendent with an impressive array of medals – most of which turned out to be souvenir pins and the like. The cowboy hat wearing sheriff was a favorite surrogate of Trump’s, and was even thought to be on the short list for multiple jobs in the Trump administration as recently as September of 2017.
All that tough talk appears to have finally caught up to him. Despite dismissing many of the charges against him after an incident on an airplane last year, a federal judge has ordered him to stand trial for trying to intimidate fellow passenger Daniel Black.
“Black and Clarke were on the same flight Jan. 15, 2017, from Dallas to Milwaukee,” USA Today reported Friday. “Black saw Clarke wearing Dallas Cowboys gear and asked if he was David Clarke. Clarke said he was, and Black shook his head and walked away to his seat in coach.”
A bigger, more secure man would have just shrugged off the insult, but not the big bad sheriff from Milwaukee. When the plane landed, Sheriff Clarke had six of his deputies waiting to meet Daniel Black as he exited the gate, and they pulled him to the side for questioning before escorting him out of the airport.
More from USA Today:
The next month, Black sued Clarke and the six deputies, claiming violations of his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable seizure, retaliation for exercising his First Amendment rights by having him stopped at the airport and the subsequent mockery on Facebook, and his due process rights under the 14th Amendment. The suit also sought to have the county held liable for Clarke’s actions.
U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller dismissed much of the lawsuit, but allowed the First Amendment and some of the Fourth Amendment charges to stand.