Sheriff David Clarke went to great lengths to defend Donald Trump on the campaign trail in hopes of a cabinet position in the Trump Administration. Yesterday, the Milwaukee County Sheriff saw his dreams dashed as Donald Trump announced Retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly as his pick to head the department. Now that the Sheriff knows his fate, perhaps he can finally get back to work serving the people of his county.
“Public safety should not be a partisan issue. One value we all share is caring deeply for the safety and well-being of our fellow community members,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning said on Thursday. “Now that the dust has settled on this election season, I sincerely hope that Sheriff David Clarke can refocus his attention to serving the people of Milwaukee County.”
Clarke’s county could use his attention as four prisoners have died at the Milwaukee County Jail in recent months, as The Milwaukee County Jail is under his supervision. Clarke, however, has spent a considerable amount of time in the last four months campaigning for President-elect Trump. Terrill Thomas, 38, died from profound dehydration after being denied water. An infant also died in custody after the mother gave birth unbeknownst to the staff. Another woman, Kristina Piebrink, 38, died for unexplained reasons in August as well as 29-year-old Michael Madden who died in late October.
Both Thomas and the infant’s mother had histories of mental illness and were denied the care that could have prevented these fatalities. Robert Shansky, a court-appointed monitor, recently provided a report of these deaths. During his visit, Shanksy noted a severe short supply of medical staff at the jail.
Clarke has neglected his duty to the citizens of Milwaukee County to keep inmates safe while in jail. Instead of worrying about Wisconsinites, Clarke has been gallivanting around the nation raising his profile conservative circles – all while the recent deaths were being investigated. Just yesterday, County Executive Chris Abele called for Clarke to bring in an outside investigator for the three deaths currently being reviewed by the Milwaukee County Jail.
“The County Executive is right on the money with his call for an outside investigation into the deaths at the Milwaukee County Jail,” Laning said. “The families of the deceased deserve an impartial investigation and the people of the county deserve to know facilities like these are safe and properly supervised by the sheriff and his team.”
Now that it is clear that Sheriff Clarke likely will not have a substantial role in the Trump administration, it is time for him to return to Milwaukee County, answer to the public, and do his job to keep the county safe.