On Monday, we learned that a mentally ill man, Terrill Thomas, who last year died of severe dehydration in a jail run by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke was kept in his cell for seven days straight after jail employees cut off his water supply. Immediately, Milwaukee County residents called for the Sheriff to step down. Today, activists visited the state Capitol to urge Gov. Scott Walker to use his powers as Governor to remove Clarke from office. Gov. Walker’s response? “It’s not my job.”
Clarke, a high-profile Trump supporter, is best known for his outlandish statements on Fox News and public fights with news columnists, and receiving hefty sums for speaking engagements than he is for keeping Milwaukee County safe. Since last April four people, including a newborn baby, have died at Clarke’s Milwaukee County Jail – prompting the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to call out the sheriff for being “shamefully silent” about the deaths.
When asked by the Associated Press today whether or not he’ll remove Sheriff Clarke from office Gov. Walker failed to grasp the urgency of the crisis in Milwaukee County, and even seemed to lack empathy for those who lost their lives in the jail, saying that it wasn’t his job to remove the sheriff. In true career politician fashion, Gov. Walker turned to politics saying that it was up to the voters to decide Clarke’s fate.
“The news we learned this week about Mr. Thomas’ death isn’t just troubling, it’s inexcusable. While Sheriff Clarke galavants around the country repeating Fox News talking points people are dying in his jail,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesperson Brandon Weathersby said on Wednesday. “The Governor is shamefully turning his back on Milwaukee County by refusing to take action against a Sheriff who can’t even keep his own jail safe.”