Speaking at a Monday press conference about his area in Florida, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd issued a harsh message to those who would riot and destroy the area under his supervision, telling them, “If you come here to riot, to loot, to injure people, we’re gonna lock you up in the county jail before ‘quick,’” and warning that if they targeted residential neighborhoods, his message to residents would be, “I’m highly recommending they blow you back out of the house with their guns.”
Judd started by asserting, “Clearly and unequivocally, as a law enforcement community, I would like to say first and foremost that the death of George 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. But Minneapolis is not Polk County, Atlanta is not Polk County; Los Angeles is not Polk County, and I want to say unequivocally here that the community here has been absolutely totally wonderful.”
After noting that the local protest was a “good thing,” adding that people “have a right to express themselves,” he added, “And we expect them to do it in a peaceful manner.”
Then he stated bluntly, “But please understand: let there be no misunderstanding at all that if you come here to riot, to loot, to injure people, we’re gonna lock you up in the county jail before ‘quick.’ And it’s not one agency or the other; it’s all of us working together.”
He held up a chilling picture of a rioter dressed with a professional mask and clothes to seal out pepper spray or other chemical agents, saying, “This person did not come to Lakeland yesterday to exercise his First Amendment rights.” Speaking of some of the people who came to Lakeland, he said, “They came here to create problems.”
He continued, “Well, the difference is that we’re not going to accept that in this community.”
Judd then issued his terse warning to rioters and looters about what would happen if they targeted residential neighborhoods:
We have received information in social media that some of the criminals were going to take their criminal conduct into the neighborhoods. I would tell them, if you value your life, they probably shouldn’t do that in Polk County. Because the people of Polk County like guns, they have guns; I encourage them to own guns, and they’re going to be in their homes tonight with their guns loaded, and if you try to break into their homes to steal, to set fires, I’m highly recommending they blow you back out of the house with their guns. So, leave the community alone.
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