Former Milwaukee County sheriff and Donald Trump ally David Clarke has threatened to make the media “taste their own blood,” following news reports of bombshell allegations in an FBI affidavit that he sicced deputies on a fellow airplane passenger almost a year ago.
Clarke, who resigned as sheriff in August, made the threat in a tweet Saturday following stories about the affidavit that was unsealed on Thursday. He also warned “libs” to “bring a hard hat” because “I’m going to smack you around.”
The affidavit said that last January, Clarke texted his deputies to detain Dan Black after the plane they were on landed in Milwaukee. Black had shaken his head after he recognized Clarke and they had a brief conversation, and Clarke took it as a slight.
“Just a field interview, no arrest unless he becomes an asshole with your guys,” Clarke texted a deputy, according to a screenshot obtained by the FBI. “Question for him is why he said anything to me. Why didn’t he just keep his mouth shut?”
After Black exited the plane he was met by six deputies and two police dogs, questioned, and escorted out of the airport, according to the affidavit. The affidavit was originally filed in March to obtain a search warrant to access Clarke’s emails.
An investigation of the incident by the Audit Services Division of the Milwaukee County controller’s office determined that Clarke had “used his official position as sheriff of Milwaukee County in excess of his lawful authority to direct his deputies to stop and question Black without legal justification,” the affidavit stated. Still, federal prosecutors informed Clarke’s attorney in May that they weren’t going to pursue charges against him over the incident.
On Saturday, Clarke lashed out in several tweets about “libs,” “lib media” and “fake news” following the stories about the affidavit. The “tasting blood” tweet included a photoshopped image of Trump holding a wrestler labeled “CNN” who was being kicked in the face by a smiling, photoshopped Clarke.
“When LYING LIB MEDIA makes up FAKE NEWS to smear me, the ANTIDOTE is go right at them,” Clarke tweeted. “Punch them in the nose & MAKE THEM TASTE THEIR OWN BLOOD.”
He later tweeted: “Nothing like getting under the skin of lefties like I did today.” He warned “libs” to “bring a hard hat,” because “I’m going to smack you around until you crawl back to your mom’s basement.”
Clarke posted a note apparently from Twitter saying that it had received complaints about the “tasting blood” tweet, but that it “could not identify any violations of the Twitter rules.” Clarke tweeted: “Twitter says no violation. Duh.”
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the note posted by Clarke or whether it was legitimate.
One of the Twitter rules is: “You may not make specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people.”
Clarke complained in an earlier tweet that the affidavit was old news and that the Justice Department had informed his lawyer that “there was no evidence of wrongdoing for doing police work.”
In fact, the letter said that a decision had been made “not to criminally prosecute any civil rights offenses” against Clarke using “the only federal statute likely available to us” because of concerns that such a case would be difficult to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The letter warns, however, that the “decision could change if additional information came to light.”
The FBI sought access to Clarke’s emails because agents believed he either personally attacked Black in posts on the Milwaukee County Sheriff Facebook page, or encouraged his staff to do so, according to the affidavit.
A civil rights lawsuit by Black is still pending against Clarke.
Clarke, who spoke at the Republican National Convention in July 2016, infamously encouraged Trump supporters to take up “pitchforks and torches” shortly before the 2016 presidential election because the system was “rigged” against the GOP nominee. He has also called members of the Black Lives Matter movement “creeps.”
In June he said he turned down a job offer from the Trump administration to be assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. He resigned as sheriff in the wake of concerns about troubling deaths in the county jails his office supervised.