Outspoken conservative Milwaukee Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr. was assaulted on a flight as he made his way from Milwaukee to Charlotte, N.C., en route to a Republican event in New Hampshire supporting Donald Trump.
Witnesses say that Preston Bluntson drank and talked through the whole flight, becoming increasingly abusive towards Clarke, eventually screaming at the sheriff, whom he apparently recognized from television appearances. Bluntson and Clarke are both black, and towards the end of his rant, Blunton is reported to have used a racial slur, telling the outspoken Trump supporter that Clarke is “not one of us.”
Clarke’s office released a statement describing the confrontation, noting that Clarke and several other passengers attempted to calm the man during the flight. Clarke told Bluntson to “chill out” and to “shut up,” before eventually pinning the man down. Charlotte police officers met the flight at the gate and escorted Bluntson off.
Bluntson has been charged with being intoxicated and disruptive in public.
Fellow passengers on the flight commended Clarke’s composure. “In all my years flying, I’ve never seen anything like it,” one passenger told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “The sheriff handled himself extremely well. It could have gotten a lot worse because the guy was not backing down.”
Clarke told Fox Business Wednesday morning that he was just doing his job. “It was very intimidating for a lot of the passengers and the flight crew on that plane and so I kept my eyes on him the entire time,” he said. “I did [what] was instinctive in me; that was to protect and take action. And I just had to pick a spot, I didn’t want to have to be grappling with this guy for an hour.”