The sheriff of Clay County, Florida, released a video warning those who would bring violence and crime to the area as part of ongoing protests against alleged systemic racism and police brutality that he would deputize lawful gun owners in the state to maintain law and order.
“We just want to weigh in on what we’ve seen going on played out across the mainstream media in this country,” Darryl Daniels said in the video.
Daniels, the first black sheriff in the county, criticized the Black Life Matters political organization and detailed his plan to make sure constitutional rights are protected and people are safe.
“Yes, we’ll protect your constitutional rights as long as you remain under the umbrella of peaceful protest or peaceful march, but the second that you step out from under the protection of the constitutional, we will be waiting on you and we will give you everything you want — all the publicity, all the pain, all the glamour and glory,” Daniels said.
“And if we can’t handle you, you know what I’ll do?” Daniels continued. “I’ll exercise the power and authority as the sheriff, and I’ll make special deputies of every lawful gun owner in this county, and I’ll deputize them for this one purpose: to stand in the gap between lawlessness and civility.”
“That’s what we were sworn to do, and that’s what we’re gonna do,” he said. “You’ve been warned.”
The New York Daily News reported on criticism of Daniels, who is a Republican:
One of his political opponents, Atlantic Beach Police Chief Michelle Cook, described his latest video as a taxpayer-funded campaign stunt.
“What Daniels said yesterday may sound tough and macho,” she told News4Jax. “But instead, it is a call for vigilantism and another signal that he is incapable of leading the Sheriff’s Department and keeping Clay County safe.”
Daniels also included references to the role he thinks God plays in the current unrest in the U.S.
“I know what happens when lawlessness prevails,” he continued, adding, “God is raising up men and women, just like the folks you see standing behind me, who will have strong backbones and will stand in the gap between lawlessness and the good citizenry that we’re sworn to protect and serve.”
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