MILWAUKEE–A federal civil rights lawsuit was filed today against Sheriff David Clarke and Milwaukee County in the wake of Clarke’s ongoing harassment of a citizen who shook his head at the sheriff’s Dallas Cowboys fan gear.
“Today, I filed a lawsuit against Sheriff David Clarke to hold him accountable for unlawfully stopping and arresting Dan Black,” said Attorney William Sulton in an emailed statement.
“A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Black filed a complaint with Milwaukee County. It was Mr. Black’s hope that the county would investigate the matter and impose appropriate corrective measures.
Sheriff Clarke, however, responded to the complaint by threatening Mr. Black with violence and encouraging others to follow suit. The Sheriff responded to Black’s complaint on Facebook by saying: “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.”
Sheriff Clarke also refused to cooperate with the investigation and ordered his subordinates to do the same. It is clear that only the courts can rein in Sheriff Clarke.
“This was a gross and arbitrary abuse of power,” continued Sulton. “Civil and constitutional rights are vain unless they are protected and defended. That is exactly what this lawsuit will accomplish.”
Black’s lawsuit alleges Sheriff Clarke “made the knowingly unlawful orders, Sheriff Clarke did so to single out Black for reasons that were irrational and unrelated to any legitimate government purpose.” And Black adds, “Sheriff Clarke’s misconduct was designed to cause and did cause emotional distress and damage to Black’s reputation.” After Sheriff Clarke threatened Black on social media, he received racial and other threats.
A spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office said they cannot comment on pending litigation.
The Complaint filed by Dan Black and his attorney can be found here.