Former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, the Donald Trump supporter best known for suspicious deaths in a jail he oversaw, blowing a potential job at the Department of Homeland Security amid a plagiarism scandal, and decorating his uniform with nearly as many dubious pins as a North Korean general, can add temporarily thrown in Twitter prison to his resume.
This weekend, Clarke saw media reports mentioning that the FBI executed a search warrant on his email accounts after his deputies accosted and detained a man who had shook his head at him in an airport. He responded by tweeting off a series of ludicrous missives denouncing the “LYING LIB MEDIA” and threatening to “MAKE THEM TASTE THEIR OWN BLOOD.” One of the tweets was accompanied by a photoshopped image of Clarke kicking another man with CNN’s logo superimposed over his face.
Per the Journal Sentinel, one of the tweets read:
Another of the widely-mocked tweets, accompanied by a photo of a snarling dog, invoked equally widely mocked band Smash Mouth (seemingly unintentionally):
Last month, Twitter began enforcing new rules against extreme and violent content on the site, specifically warning users that it would be taking a more hardline approach against “abuse and hateful conduct as well as violence and physical harm.” Threatening to give the media a “taste of their own blood” would certainly seem to qualify.
Per a CNN report on Tuesday, the site chose to invoke its ability to put Clarke’s account into read-only mode until he deleted the offending tweets. The read-only setting is essentially a form of internet jail and heavily restricted features available to Clarke, including the ability to send tweets.
Twitter informed one user who reported Clarke’s posts, “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.”
It’s hard to think of a more embarrassing way for this all to go down—especially because as the Journal Sentinel noted, Clarke still faces potential civil penalties over the airport incident—but the enraged ex-sheriff can’t just take the loss. After getting access to his account back, he tweeted, “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 authorirty to go after people whose views they don’t like.”