Four-term Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., who delivered an emphatic address on law and order during the first day last year's Republican National Convention, will speak in Minneapolis Saturday night at an event hosted by the not-for-profit RightWay Minnesota.
Clarke is a popular and often controversial commentator on issues involving law enforcement and the Second Amendment. He wields a combative Twitter account that celebrates President Donald Trump and takes aim at "media elites" like the New York Times and NBC News.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to make something very clear — Blue lives matter in America!" he said last July, opening his remarks at the 2016 RNC in Cleveland to rousing applause from the crowd. Clarke's July 18 comments came one day after the ambush-style slayings of three Baton Rouge, La., police officers, and weeks after the similar killings of five other officers in Dallas.
In Milwaukee County, he has won four elections for sheriff running as a Democrat, even though he embraces values typically associated with the political right and tweets smiling photos of himself with Trump and National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre.
On Jan. 21, he wrote on Twitter, "In D.C. a day AFTER the inaugural. Women's march. An absolute freak show. P-T Barnum should have delayed the announcement to shut down." The caption accompanied two pictures of women at the march, including one wearing a T-shirt that said, "Love Trumps Hate."
Clarke's Twitter caption didn't elaborate on how the images depicted a "freak show."
That and other Clarke tweets and comments have made made him the target of criticism in social media and mainstream media commentaries, as well as by some civil rights groups and fellow law enforcement officers.
Critics have called sexist and racist, although he is himself black. Marquez Claxton, a retired New York Police Department detective, has been quoted as saying that Clarke is "at times nothing less than a hatemonger."
He has feuded with other Milwaukee County officials over budget issues and alleged inappropriate training methods, and has both sued and been sued by them and others.
Tonight, Clarke is the boldface name on the Celebration of Law & Order, being held by RightWay Minnesota, a 501(c)4 organization. Contributions to the group are not tax-deductible.
The event is being held at The Mansion Uptown, 2901 Hennepin Av., Minneapolis. Also scheduled to speak are state Rep. Jim Nash, Life Time Fitness CEO Bahram Akradi and Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, according to the meeting agenda. The program begins at 5:30 p.m.