Former Sheriff David Clarke Heads to Trial for Facebook ‘Snowflake’ Threat

David Clarke Jr. after speaking at the NRA-ILA’s Leadership Forum at the 146th NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits on April 28, 2017, in Atlanta (Scott Olson/Getty Images

Old Davey Clarke might wanna watch his mouth (or keyboard fingers).


Although a federal judge on Friday dismissed most of a civil rights lawsuit against former Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. over an incident at a Milwaukee airport, the judge did allow one portion to stand—the claim that Clarke retaliated against the plaintiff on Facebook—and he now has a trial set for Jan. 22.

Clarke called Daniel Black a “snowflake” on Facebook after the two were on the same flight last year. The Milwaukee Sentinel reports on the Jan. 2017 incident, which seemed like a clear abuse of power:

Black saw Clarke wearing Dallas Cowboys gear and asked if he were David Clarke.

Clarke said he was, and Black shook his head and walked away to his seat in coach.

When the plane landed in Milwaukee, Black was greeted by six sheriff’s deputies. Clarke directed them to take Black aside and question him.

They then escorted [Black] from the airport.

Black later posted on social media about the incident and filed a complaint with the county. Clarke responded on social media by calling Black a “snowflake.”

One post read, “Cheer up, snowflake ... if Sheriff Clarke were to really harass you, you wouldn’t be around to whine about it.”

Black sued Clarke and the six deputies, claiming violations of his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable seizure, retaliation for exercising his First Amendment rights by having him stopped at the airport and the subsequent mockery on Facebook, and his due process rights under the 14th Amendment. The suit also sought to have the county held liable for Clarke’s actions, according to USA Today.


On Friday, U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller granted summary judgment to Clarke on the Fourth and one of the First Amendment claims, dismissed the 14th Amendment claim as “completely without merit” and dismissed the claim against the county and the six deputies, who are not named.

But the judge said that a jury should decide whether Clarke’s reaction on Facebook was the kind of threat or intimidation that amounted to retaliation against Black.


Read more at USA Today.

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Angela Helm

Ms. Bronner Helm is a Contributing Editor at The Root. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.