Words Shot the Sheriff? David Clarke Reportedly Plagiarized Parts of His Master’s Thesis

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

It seems as if everyone around our dear president is more sketchy and unqualified than the next.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who rode his deep-seated disdain for black people to a plum position in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, reportedly lifted text without proper attribution in his 113-page master’s thesis.


An investigative report from CNN concluded that Clarke plagiarized at least 47 parts of his thesis for the Naval Postgraduate School in 2013. Titled, “Making U.S. Security and Privacy Rights Compatible,” Clarke’s thesis took direct language from the American Civil Liberties Union, of all places, as well as from The 9/11 Commission Report, changing only a word or two.

CNN reports: “In all instances reviewed by CNN’s KFile, Clarke lifts language from sources and credits them with a footnote, but does not indicate with quotation marks that he is taking the words verbatim.”

CNN screenshot
CNN screenshot

Hours after the CNN report went live, the Naval Postgraduate School removed Clarke’s report from its online collection of theses and dissertations, according to the New York Daily News.


Good ol’ boy Clarke, who has called the Movement for Black Lives “Black Lies Matter” and “anarchy,” emerged on Twitter this weekend to disparage one of the authors of the CNN piece, Andrew Kaczynski, calling him a hack, a tool of the liberal media, yadda yadda, yadda.

“Guy is a sleaze bag. I’m on to him folks,” Clarke tweeted Saturday.


No word from President Donald Trump, who sticks by his loyalists to the point of absurdity, on this latest embarrassment.


Sheriff Clarke, original words matter. And so do black lives, potna.

Read more at CNN and the New York Daily News.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Senior Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.

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I’m sure a lot of people will say, so what? He forgot some quotation marks. One of the biggest law school projects for law review is the comment. A comment is thousands of words on an area of law that a person is interested in. One of the law review members did the same thing that Clarke did (and Gorsuch, don’t forget) and was almost kicked off of law review. He would have failed the associated class and could’ve been sanctioned by the school. If word had gotten out, it would have seriously impacted his ability to be employed. The law review board decided to handle it internally but forced him to completely rewrite his paper on a new topic. And it took a semester to write the first time.

tl;dr: This may not seem like a big deal at first glance, but it’s a huge no-no.