© 2024 Blaze Media LLC. All rights reserved.
Sheriff of county where Laken Riley was murdered campaigned on not cooperating with ICE detainers for the 'undocumented'
Composite screenshot of Athens Politics Nerd YouTube video and Clarke County Sheriff's Office website

Sheriff of county where Laken Riley was murdered campaigned on not cooperating with ICE detainers for the 'undocumented'

The sheriff of the Georgia county where 22-year-old nursing student Laken Riley was murdered last week — allegedly by an illegal immigrant from Venezuela who had multiple interactions with law enforcement in the U.S. — once pledged not to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers if elected to office.

In 2020, John Williams was a sergeant with the Athens-Clarke County Police Department running to become county sheriff. He sat down for an interview with Athens Politics Nerd to discuss his vision for law enforcement in the area.

During the interview, Williams criticized ICE detainers, suggesting that they create an unnecessary "culture of fear."

"A lot of law enforcement is based around community support," Williams said. "... Building relationships is key. And if we're antagonizing people because they are, what, undocumented or underdocumented, then they built that fear in them, and they're not likely to come to us, not only when we need their help, but when they need our help."

For instance, he said, victims of domestic violence may hesitate to come forward and report abuse if they believe that an arrest might result in someone "being taken to jail and thus deported and breaking apart families."

Williams insisted that he had no "intention" of cooperating "with those detainers" or of conducting "any types of roundups" or any other police tactics that "contribute to that culture of fear."

"Are there situations that might call for someone to be deported? Yes, but that's not for the sheriff's department to decide," he stated.

The full interview can be seen below. The discussion about ICE detainers begins around the 7:25 mark.

Throughout the interview, Williams drops hints that he takes a softer approach to law enforcement. He mentions that he wants to train his deputies in "emotional intelligence" so that they don't engage in any form of policing based on their "biases."

He also referenced President Barack Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, indicating that the task force developed ideas that would foster better relationships between police and residents. The task force's final report, issued in May 2015, encourages police to take "a comprehensive and inclusive look at community-based initiatives that address core issues such as poverty, education, and health and safety."

Despite Williams' concerns about potential police "biases," his bio on the sheriff's office website suggests he harbors personal biases as well and has a significant preoccupation with identity politics vis-a-vis law enforcement. In it, he claims that "the overwhelmingly white police force" in his hometown of Gary, Indiana, "was often apathetic towards the problems that faced the majority-minority population." This racial disparity then led him to strive "to be an officer that truly treats everyone equally regardless of traits like race, ethnicity, or citizenship," it said (emphasis added).

Williams did not respond to Blaze News' request for comment.

Like Blaze News? Bypass the censors, sign up for our newsletters, and get stories like this direct to your inbox. Sign up here!

Want to leave a tip?

We answer to you. Help keep our content free of advertisers and big tech censorship by leaving a tip today.
Want to join the conversation?
Already a subscriber?