The sheriff of Polk County, Florida, issued a stern warning to anyone who might consider using the George Floyd protests for cover to attack residents on Monday night, telling criminals outright that the citizens of Polk County are well armed and will "be in their homes tonight with their guns loaded."
What are the details?
WTVT-TV reported that during a news conference, Sheriff Grady Judd gave a recap of the weekend's protests in Lakeland, where his department was called in to assist with the local police department when demonstrations became violent.
Sheriff Judd praised the local community members who demonstrated over the death of Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis last week, noting that the outrage over Floyd's death is justified. He also reiterated that peaceful protesters would be protected and even encouraged them to exercise their First Amendment rights.
The sheriff went on to condemn rioters who came in from out of town to engage in organized criminal activity, then addressed rumors from social media that criminals were plotting to attack residential neighborhoods.
His advice to any prospective criminals was, "If you value your life, you shouldn't probably do that in Polk County, because the people of Polk County like guns. They have guns. I encourage them to own guns."
Sheriff Polk continued, "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."