Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday that he won't remove Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke from office over the death of an inmate who was denied water for seven days.
Walker said while he has the authority to remove Clarke, he doesn't feel it's his job. He acknowledged that reports about the 2016 dehydration death were concerning, but said it's up to voters to decide Clarke's fate and judge his oversight of the jail.
"I'm not in a position to say," he said, adding that historical practice has been to defer to voters.
Voces de la Frontera, an immigrant rights group, petitioned Walker Wednesday to use a law that gives him authority to remove negligent county officials from office. Executive Director Christine Neumann-Ortiz said at a news conference that the group doesn't expect Walker to heed their call to fire Clarke but wants to remind the governor of his authority.
"We want to highlight that he does have the power and, based on the statutes, Clarke has given him a basis to remove him from public office," she said.
Clarke has said little publicly about the inmate's death. When asked for his reaction to the petition, he initially declined to comment but later issued a statement through spokeswoman Fran McLaughlin in which he attacked Voces de la Frontera as a "pro-criminal illegal immigration movement."
"They couldn't beat at the ballot box so they are resorting to asking the governor to undo an election that was will of the people. This is what scummy people and organizations do," the statement said.
You can read the rest at the Chicago Tribune.