Controversial Trump-Supporting Sheriff Calls for 'Pitchforks and Torches'

Some social media users said the sheriff's tweet is an incitement to violence.

ByABC News
October 15, 2016, 4:15 PM

— -- Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., a prominent Trump supporter and vocal critic of Black Lives Matter who spoke at the Republican National Convention this year, tweeted today that instead of just complaining about corruption in the White House, other federal institutions and the media, it's "pitchforks and torches time."

Clarke, who regularly appears on cable news shows, posted what appeared to be a stock photo of men and women brandishing torches, pitchforks and clubs, and wrote, "It's incredible that our institutions of gov, WH, Congress, DOJ, and big media are corrupt & all we do is bitch. Pitchforks and torches time."

ABC News reached out to Sheriff Clarke but did not immediately receive a response.

Some Twitter users responded to the sheriff that he was inciting violence, while others defended Clarke's comment.

Clarke has criticized the Black Lives Matter movement for fomenting "social upheaval" and "chaos."

"People have to find a more socially acceptable way to deal with their frustration, their anger and resentment," Clarke said in August when protesters in Milwaukee clashed with police in reaction to the officer-involved shooting death of 23-year-old Sylville Smith. "We cannot have the social upheaval -- the chaos that we saw [during the protest] frightens good, law-abiding people in those neighborhoods."

Clarke's office has come under scrutiny recently over a 38-year-old man dying of thirst in the county jail.

Terrill Thomas, 38, was found dead in his jail cell in April, nine days after he was arrested in connection with a shooting. The death was ruled a homicide, with dehydration the primary cause, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Clarke has not commented on Thomas' death, and issued a press release in September citing an internal investigation of the case as the reason why.

Clarke is a strong supporter of GOP nominee Donald Trump and his tweet Saturday seemed to echo the Republican candidate's recent pronouncements that the election is "rigged" in favor of his rival Hillary Clinton. Trump, facing accusations of sexual assault by a growing number of women, is blaming the media for giving a platform to what he says are false claims.

“It’s one big fix. This whole election is being rigged," Trump said at a rally in North Carolina yesterday.

Clarke, who is promoting a book called "Cop Under Fire," also criticized the media Saturday, tweeting: "To all [Trump] supporters, Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled (John:14 1-3) Big media knows that our day is coming. Stay strong."

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