Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, Jr. took to the main stage in Cleveland at the Republican National Convention with a message that “Blue lives matter.”
Clarke has been in the news in recent days after clashing with CNN’s Don Lemon in an interview regarding the recent police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La. where Clarke said he had “predicted this” would happen for the past two years.
“I’ve been watching this for two years. I’ve predicted this,” Clarke told Lemon. “This anti-police rhetoric sweeping the country has turned out some hateful things inside of people that are now playing themselves out on the American police officer.”
Though Clarke has been sheriff for Milwaukee County since 2002, he is increasingly gaining national attention.
Here are five fast facts about Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, Jr.:
- Clarke, 59, joined the Milwaukee Police Department in 1978 as a patrol officer and was elected to county sheriff in 2002, now serving his fourth term.
- Although he spoke at the Republican National Convention in support of presumptive nominee Donald Trump, Clarke is a registered Democrat. Clarke has a podcast on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network called “David Clarke: The People’s Sheriff.” Clarke has defended being registered as a Democrat despite holding conservative political views, saying that sheriff elections should be nonpartisan. “Like me, most people question why the Office of Sheriff is a partisan election. I have never asked a person to vote for me because I run as a Democrat.”
- Clarke featured in a 2013 public service announcement ad calling for listeners to arm themselves “so you can defend yourself until we get there,” saying citizens can’t rely on the police to respond in time to a threat.
- Clarke has been a vocal opponent of the Black Lives Matter movement. According to Reuters, Clarke has called the group “Black Lies Matter,” and labelled their members “subhuman creeps.”
- Clarke’s sheriff deputies’ union and two of his individual officers successfully sued him in 2006 for mandating officers to attend staff meetings where members of the evangelical Christian group the Fellowship of Christian Centurions proselytized to the officers.