POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WJW) — A sheriff in Florida this week had a strong message for homeowners and protesters thinking about looting in their community.
At a press conference Monday, Sheriff Grady Judd said authorities received information on social media that individuals were threatening 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,” Judd then stated. “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.”
Judd said in a Facebook post Tuesday that peaceful protests were organized in the county, and there were incidents of protest-related violence.
“There were three protests in Polk County—all were peaceful—there was no sign of outside agitators,” he said in his post.
Protests have been held in cities around the country in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd died Monday, May 25, when an officer kneeled on his neck for more than 8 minutes.
The officer has been arrested. Many are calling for other officers who were part of the incident to be arrested as well.
Many protests have turned violent, including in Cleveland.
**For video of Cleveland looting, see the video above**
More than 100 people were arrested in connection with violence and looting in Cleveland during protests over the weekend.