In a moment that has gone viral on social media, Polk County Florida Sheriff Grady Judd warned looters his county’s residents “like guns” and “have guns.”
In addition, Judd said “I’m highly recommending they blow you back out of the house with their guns.”
"The people in Polk County like guns, they have guns, I encourage them to own guns… 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." STORY: https://t.co/NjG4Frlphy pic.twitter.com/KH0g3X0POC
— FOX 13 Tampa Bay (@FOX13News) June 1, 2020
Fox13 reports after protests turned to “civil unrest” in parts of Polk County Saturday and Sunday, the county issued a local state of emergency and a curfew Sunday and extended it to Monday at 8 p.m., until 5 a.m. Tuesday. Meanwhile, Sheriff Grady Judd had a warning for looters as he recapped the weekend’s events.
The Lakeland Police Department said a planned protest Sunday of about 100 people in Munn Park was peaceful and lawful Sunday. The group moved to the police station, which continued with no issues. However, some of those involved split off from the group and began blocking traffic at Florida Boulevard, which turned from citizens expressing their first amendment right to unlawful activity.
Lakeland PD said officers tried to disperse the crowd, but the sheriff’s office was called in to help clear the intersection.
Sheriff Judd said there he does not believe Polk County residents were the ones creating problems.
He said there’s a difference between a protester and a rioter and rioting will not be accepted.
Judd said they received information that law enforcement would come under attack at 8 p.m. near Interstate 4 and Highway 27, but the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Highway Patrol were ready.
Judd said the Highway Patrol did a “marvelous job” helping stop the few who showed up for that alleged effort.
“We are going to hunt you down and lock you up if you engage in any criminal conduct,” Judd said.
Judd said there were rumblings on social media that rioters planned to bring violence into the neighborhoods of Polk County.