DOJ Weighing Civil Rights Inquiry Into Deaths At Sheriff Clarke’s Wisconsin Jail

AP

The Department of Justice is considering launching a federal civil rights probe of the Milwaukee jail overseen by prominent Donald Trump ally Sheriff David Clarke, the Huffington Post reported Thursday.

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) asked the DOJ’s Civil Rights decision to investigate practices at the Milwaukee County Jail in early December following news reports that found that four people died at the jail since April, including a newborn and a man with mental health problems who perished from thirst.

Moore announced on Twitter this week that the DOJ responded to her request.

“We will carefully consider your letter along with other information we may receive regarding Milwaukee County Jail in order to determine whether a pattern or practice investigation may be necessary,” Assistant Attorney General Peter J. Kadzik wrote in a Dec. 15 letter to Moore obtained by HuffPost.

Another fact-finding mission is already underway. Milwaukee County is auditing medical care at the jail to determine if better staffing could have saved lives.

Clarke remains defiant in response to the reported probe, and the county’s chief medical examiner alleged that Clarke “threatened” and “verbally pummeled him for releasing information about the jail deaths.

Clarke’s office released a statement to HuffPost calling the potential DOJ investigation “fake news” that unfairly targeted him for his support for Trump’s campaign.

“After January 20, 2017, Sen. Jeff Sessions will become the new Attorney General of the US Department of Justice,” the statement read. “He will take the partisan politics out of decision making at DOJ. The Sheriff looks forward to working with the NEW administration in Making America Great Again!”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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