A sheriff in Central Florida known for his sometimes "humorous" press conferences is drawing attention for what he said regarding potential rioting amid protests over the death of George Floyd.
During Monday’s event with other law enforcement personnel and religious leaders, Sheriff Grady Judd issued a warning after reports on social media said that rioting may take place inside residential neighborhoods and cities in the county.
“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, according to NBC affiliate WFLA-TV. “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 emphasized his support for peaceful protests, including one in the city of Lakeland on Sunday that turned violent when protestors were confronted by officers and counter-protestors.
Polk County was placed under a curfew starting Monday night, while Judd said he supported the arrest of the former Minneapolis Police Department officer charged in Floyd’s death.
“The death of George in Minneapolis at the hands of that police officer was outrageous,” Judd said. “Had that police officer done here what he did there, he would have been locked up in the county jail by sundown.”