Former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke is facing a trial for taunting a man on Facebook by calling him a ‘snowflake.’
The feud between Clarke and a man named Daniel Black started over a year ago when the two were on the same flight from Dallas to Milwaukee.
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USA Today reports: 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 him 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.”
The next month, 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.
In Friday’s 27-page order, 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, all originally identified as John Doe.
“While Clarke’s actions reflect poor judgment, they do not shock the conscience,” to a degree to support the due-process claim, Stadtmueller ruled.
He also found that Black’s 15-minute discussion with deputies was not a seizure since they never drew their guns, used friendly language and weren’t expecting to arrest or cite Black.
But the judge said a jury should decide whether Clarke’s reaction on Facebook was the kind of threat or intimidation that amounted to retaliation against Black. One post read, “Cheer up, snowflake … if Sheriff Clarke were to really harass you, you wouldn’t be around to whine about it.”
Black’s lawyer, William Sulton, said Friday that he had not yet had a chance to read the order carefully.
Clarke’s lawyer did not immediately return messages seeking reaction to the order.
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