Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke resigned Thursday, effective at midnight, ending the controversial 15-year tenure of one of the nation’s most prominent and conservative lawmen.
Clarke was first appointed and later elected sheriff in 2002. He began raising his national profile with frequent appearances on FoX News in 2014, following the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, where he made strong denunciations of Black Lives Matter and other groups critical of police. However, he was dogged throughout his career by lawsuits and reports of deplorable—sometimes deadly—conditions inside his jail.
In the most infamous case, an inmate, Terrill Thomas, died in 2016 of “profound dehydration” inside Clarke’s jail.
It was far from the only such case. Last year, a woman sued the Milwaukee County Jail for being subjected to repeated sexual assaults by a guard. She also said she was shackled while giving birth. The lawsuit alleged that at least 40 other women since 2011 had been forced to give birth while shackled to hospital beds. A jury awarded her $6.7 million in June.
Another woman is also suing the Milwaukee County Jail, alleging that poor medical care led to a miscarriage during her third trimester:
A lawyer for Shadé Swayzer has filed a notice of claim against the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, alleging that jail staff are responsible for the death of Swayzer’s child. The 30-year-old woman, who was almost nine months pregnant, is seeking $8.5 million in damages.
Swayzer’s lawyer, Jason Jankowski, wrote in the notice of claim that Swayzer told a corrections officer her water broke and she was going into labor, but the officer laughed and ignored her. Swayzer said she told the officer that she was going into labor around midnight, gave birth at about 4 a.m., and finally received attention from officers at 6 a.m. Her child was pronounced dead later that day, although it’s unclear at what time.
Clarke was a staunch supporter of Donald Trump and spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention.
This June, the Trump administration offered Clarke a position at the Department of Homeland Security, but he withdrew his name from consideration a couple of weeks later.
In addition to his outspoken conservatism and disregard for human life, Clarke was known for wearing large cowboy hats and fake medals.
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