Brash ex-Milwaukee sheriff David Clarke faces civil trial

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke’s run-in with a 25-year-old man who shook his head at him while boarding a flight last year is headed to trial.

Daniel Black sued the sheriff for having deputies detain him and question him at Milwaukee’s airport, but Clarke’s taunting social media posts remain the focus of the case. Here’s a look at history of the case and the legal issues that will play out in federal court. The trial starts Monday.

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THE PLANE CONFRONTATION

Clarke and Black were boarding a flight from Dallas to Milwaukee on Jan. 15, 2017 — the day Clarke’s beloved Dallas Cowboys were facing the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs. The sheriff was clad in Dallas gear without his trademark cowboy hat and Black said he didn’t immediately recognize him because of that. He asked Clarke if he was Milwaukee’s sheriff, according to his lawsuit, and when Clarke said yes, Black shook his head disapprovingly.

Black said he made the gesture because Clarke was supporting a rival team. Clarke, who attracts controversy because of his provocative and brash personality, didn’t see the gesture as harmless and asked deputies to meet Black at the airport and question him.

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THE AFTERMATH

Black said deputies questioned him for about 15 minutes but didn’t cite or arrest him. When Black publicized the encounter and filed his lawsuit, Clarke responded with a series of Facebook posts. Clarke said at the time he “reserves the reasonable right to pre-empt a possible assault,” and also posted that the next time someone pulled the same “stunt on a plane they may get knocked out.” Later, making fun of Black, Clarke wrote on Facebook: “Cheer up, snowflake … if Sheriff Clarke were to really harass you, you wouldn’t be around to whine about it.”

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WHERE THE LAWSUIT STANDS

Black’s lawsuit initially made several claims. He contended that Clarke’s directive for his deputies to detain him amounted to unconstitutional search and seizure, and that the sheriff’s actions violated…

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