The sheriff of Milwaukee County has resigned.
Sheriff David Clarke submitted a letter of resignation with the Milwaukee County clerk Thursday afternoon, saying he will step down from a position he has held since 2002. In a statement released by his office, Clarke said he has chosen to retire to pursue “other opportunities.”
Details of those future plans are expected to come after the Labor Day holiday.
Clarke is perhaps best known for his often controversial comments on race and gun violence, along with his outspoken support for Republican President Donald Trump. While he has consistently run as a Democrat, Clarke has aligned with conservatives on a number of issues, often taking to social media to criticize liberals.
Clarke has been a frequent guest at conservative events around the country and on cable TV, which critics have argued has taken his attention away from his duties as sheriff. He has also clashed with county officials and employees on multiple occasions.
Under Clarke, the Milwaukee County Jail has become the focus of an investigation following the deaths of four inmates in a six month period, including the death of a man who died from dehydration after the water in his jail cell was turned off for six days. Lawsuits have also been filed over the abuse and rape of inmates, and by a woman whose newborn baby died after she gave birth in the jail.
In May, Clarke claimed to have been offered a job with the Department of Homeland Security, although the agency never confirmed the offer. Following a CNN report in June that accused him of plagiarizing his master’s thesis, the sheriff withdrew his name from consideration for the position.
State Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), a frequent critic of the sheriff, thanked him for his decision to step down. “After years of abuse at his hands, the people of Milwaukee can sleep soundly tonight,” she said in a statement.
Governor Scott Walker will name a replacement for Clarke, who will complete a term that ends next year. A spokesman for the governor said that process will begin as soon as he is officially notified about the resignation by Milwaukee County.