Back in January 2017, a 25-year-old man accosted former Sheriff David Clarke, well-known Trump supporter, while the two were on a plane heading from Dallas to the General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Following the altercation, Clarke reportedly felt threatened by the man, who was later identified as Dan Black and subsequently had him detained upon landing.
After the incident occurred, Clarke then went onto the Facebook page of the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office and proceeded to mock Black for complaining to the county. In one post, for instance, Clarke wrote, “Cheer up, snowflake … if Sheriff Clarke were to really harass you, you wouldn’t be around to whine about it.”
— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) May 26, 2017
Outraged by both the airport incident and the subsequent comments online, Black decided to file a lawsuit against Clarke and the six deputies who detained him. In the lawsuit, he accused them all of violating the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment. Thankfully, though, upon hearing the details of the case, a federal jury ruled against Black and in favor of Clarke and his right to free speech.
Specifically, after about three hours of deliberation, the jury concluded that Black, who argued that Clarke’s comments chilled his speech because he’s now discouraged Black from ever again filing a complaint about a public official, “failed to prove the posts suppressed his willingness to make such a complaint in the future.” Instead, they sided with Clarke’s lawyer, Charles Bohl, and concluded that rather than being chilled, Black’s speech was actually encouraged.
Clarke’s legal victory comes just weeks after Twitter temporarily suspended from their site for bashing the “lying liberal media” in a series of tweets. “BREAKING NEWS! When Lying Lib MEDIA makes up FAKE NEWS to smear me, the ANTIDOTE is going right at them. Punch them in the nose & MAKE THEM TASTE THEIR OWN BLOOD,” wrote Clarke in one of the tweets, noting, “nothing gets a bully like LYING LIB MEDIA’S attention better than to give them a taste of their own blood.”
The tweet, which outraged countless people, also included a photoshopped image featuring President Donald Trump, Sheriff Clarke, and a person with a CNN logo instead of a head. In the image, President Trump can be seen holding the person with the CNN logo for a head while Clarke kicks that individual in the face.
After receiving a massive amount of backlash over the tweet, Clarke responded by tweeting, “LYING LIB MEDIA and WHINEY LIBS can’t take the heat. They pick a fight with me putting out FAKE NEWS and when I clobber them for doing it they run to mommy looking for help. They are still making Twitter complaints over my tweets. None have been sustained.”
In a follow-up tweet, he added, “winning against LYING LIB MEDIA and Whiney SNOWFLAKES again. Like [Donald Trump] said, we’ll win so much we’ll never get tired of winning. Not yet however. Diaper wearing left didn’t like my metaphor reference to punching LYING LIB MEDIA in the nose. Twitter said no violation. Duh.”
Three tweets have been deleted from @SheriffClarke's timeline (screenshots below), including one about making the news media "taste their own blood" and two that referenced complaints made to Twitter about the "blood" tweet. pic.twitter.com/2mvM9UqJz3
— Theo Keith (@TheoKeith) January 2, 2018
Unfortunately, Clarke spoke too soon in the third tweet as he received a message from Twitter soon after telling him that what he wrote, did, in fact, violate their terms of service. They also told him that as a consequence, they decided to temporarily place his account in “read-only mode,” which prevents a user from posting new tweets.
“We have reviewed the account you reported and have locked it because we found it to be in violation of the Twitter Rules. If the account owner complies with our requested actions and stated policies, the account will be unlocked,” explained Twitter in a message that they sent to Clarke.
Begrudgingly, Clarke decided to listen to them and subsequently deleted the tweets from his account. Twitter then removed the restrictions that they had placed on his account so that Clarke could resume tweeting.
Upon returning to the platform, Clarke responded to being suspended by defiantly posting another anti-media tweet. “I will NOT be Intimidated into silence by LYING LIB MEDIA. I will NOT be intimidated by LIBERAL hyper-partisan government HACKS who weaponize government authority [sic] to go after people whose views they don’t like,” wrote Clarke, adding, “I will STAND AND FIGHT for TRUTH & what I believe is RIGHT. JOIN ME.”
Without a doubt, the jury did the right thing by ruling in favor of Sheriff Clarke. Hopefully, when faced with similar cases, other juries rule the same way.