Fla. sheriff to looters: Owners will ‘blow you back out of the house with their guns’

Sheriff Grady Judd is getting some blowback for a comment he made Monday night during a press conference

Howard Cohen
Miami Herald

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is getting some blow-back for a comment he made during a news address he delivered Monday night on a curfew in Lakeland and what he recommends happen to looters that venture into residential neighborhoods with mischief in mind.

“I would tell them, if you value your life, you probably shouldn’t do that in Polk County,” Judd said in a conference broadcast on the department’s Facebook page as he stood beside Lakeland Police Chief Ruben Garcia and religious leaders.

“Because the people of Polk County like guns, they have guns, I encourage them to own guns, and they’re going to be inside their homes tonight with their guns loaded,” Judd said. “And if you try to break into their homes tonight and try to steal, to set fires, I’m highly recommending they blow you back out of the house with their guns.”

Judd was tipped to the possible threat of protests moving into residential communities by posts he saw on social media, he said in his address.

Judd got a lot of “hell yeah, Grady” comments in praise of his tough stance on lawlessness. But he also got criticism, too.

Responses ran the gamut. From the pro:

“Amen. Locked and loaded.”

“Stand your ground.”

“Best sheriff ever.”

“Love this sheriff, Grady Judd. He has been a strong voice in Florida for years. He doesn’t hesitate to tell criminals on the run, he is coming for them. He’s got that Trump thing going on.”

To the con:

“If you value life, don’t trust law enforcement.”

“All lives can’t matter if black lives don’t.”

“What about officers who’s assaulting civilians and innocent people?”

Before he warned people who may have considered venturing into residential areas to riot, Judd — known for his expressive news conferences — condemned Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin who knelt on the neck of George Floyd for more than eight minutes on May 25.

A medical examiner on Monday classified George Floyd’s death as a homicide, saying his heart stopped as police restrained him and compressed his neck, The Associated Press reported.

Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder after video surfaced and sparked protests nationwide, including in South Florida, and even across the border in Toronto.

Many were peaceful, some turned violent, including in Miami and Fort Lauderdale over the weekend, as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into crowds of protesters and journalists. Some stores were looted and damaged, including at Bayside Marketplace and along Las Olas Boulevard.

“As a law enforcement community we want to say that the death of George [Floyd] in Minneapolis at the hands of that police officer was outrageous. Had that police officer done here what he did there, he would have been locked up in the county jail by sundown,” Judd said in his news conference.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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