Florida sheriff threatens to arrest anyone with a warrant seeking shelter during storm
A Florida sheriff is under fire after using Twitter to promise that police officers will be arresting anyone who shows up to a shelter during Hurricane Irma and has warrants for their arrest.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd initially tweeted out the warning to promise that no sexual predators would be allowed into shelters which will all be filled with children and their families.
“If you go to a shelter for #Irma and you have a warrant, we’ll gladly escort you to the safe and secure shelter called the Polk County Jail,” Judd tweeted.
— Polk County Sheriff (@PolkCoSheriff) September 6, 2017
However, there’s one major flaw in this logic. Police won’t have the resources at the time to see why someone has a warrant for their arrest. Meaning that they could find themselves carting someone off to jail who had a warrant for unpaid child support just as they would someone who’s wanted for murder. There’s no room for a gray area.
“Officers are legally obligated to take a person into custody if they have a warrant,” Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Carrie Horstman told the Orlando Sentinel.
What was being sold as a way to keep kids safe during a natural disaster turned out to be a poorly thought out idea that sounds like it was taken right out of the Joe Arpaio rulebook. Some even speculate that it’s Judd’s attempt to keep undocumented citizens and other people of color from seeking shelter during the storm.
“The message has already been received by the 18,000 undocumented persons in Polk County,” said State Representative Carlos Smith. “This is not the message we need to be sending out with a disaster upon us.”
The ACLU went as far as to call out Judd’s actions for sending “the message that these individuals must choose between facing a natural disaster without aid and shelter or going to jail over things like unpaid traffic tickets.”
— ACLU of Florida (@ACLUFL) September 6, 2017