Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is not shy about his conservative views. He once described men and women protesting police violence in Ferguson, Missouri as “vultures on a roadside carcass.” He’s accused Democratic governors, senators and Attorney General Eric Holder of acting as cat’s paws for the “New Black Panther Party.” And he told a National Rifle Association gathering that open insurrection may be the appropriate response to gun laws he opposes. Similarly, on Tuesday night, Clarke offered a unique take on the Black Lives Matter movement:
Before long, Black Lies Matter will join forces with ISIS to being down our legal constituted republic. You heard it first here.
— David A. Clarke, Jr. (@SheriffClarke) October 28, 2015
Clarke has long straddled the border between mainstream Republicans and the conservative movement’s paranoid extremes. During his aborted presidential campaign, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) described Clarke as a “friend of mine” who has “talked to me about [policing] many times in the past.” Yet Clarke was also named “sheriff of the year” by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), a group whose leader backed anti-government rancher Cliven Bundy during an armed standoff between Bundy’s supporters and federal officials.
In a 2013 speech to the CSPOA, Clarke labeled the federal government a “common enemy” and compared the federal government’s current actions to the outrages that triggered the American Revolution.
Despite his views, however, Clarke remains a high-ranking law enforcement officer with a badge, a gun, and a bevy of deputies at his command.