(NY DAILY NEWS) – A Florida sheriff recommended homeowners shoot any looters who attempt to break into their homes during a press briefing Monday.
“I would tell them, if you value your life, they probably shouldn’t do that in Polk County,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said, according to Fox 13 Tampa Bay. “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.”
Protests in the city of Lakeland, which is in Polk County, between Orlando and Tampa, have so far been peaceful and an 8 p.m. curfew is in place. A group of protesters blocked traffic on Sunday night, which the Lakeland Police Department described as unlawful activity.
Protesters engaging in “criminal conduct” will be “hunted down” and “locked up,” Judd added ahead of the curfew, citing social media rumors that rioters planned to strike Monday night.
Elsewhere in the briefing, Judd said protesters should remain peaceful and that what happened to George Floyd was not what would happen in Polk County.
“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.”
“But Minneapolis is not Polk County,” Judd continued. “And I want to say unequivocally that the community here is unbelievable … But please understand, that if you come here to riot, to loot, to injure people, we’re going to lock you up in the county jail.”