In the middle of Hurricane Irma preparations, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd decided to use the emergency to fill his jail cells. He made two tweets advertising the availability of plenty of “safe and secure shelter” in his county jail.
It turns out his threats were illegal. Who knew? Well, pretty much everyone knew, that’s who.
On Sunday, a lawsuit was filed electronically by Attorney Cynthia Conlin, on behalf of Nexus Services, an immigrants’ rights group. According to the lawsuit, Andres Borreno was told that he would be required to submit to a criminal background check before being allowed to enter an emergency evacuation shelter on Saturday.
‘The officer … also never told Borreno that he was suspected of any crime or illegal act at that time. Criminal suspicion is not raised by trying to enter an emergency shelter to save one’s life and the life of family members.’
Judd’s response was to call the lawsuit frivolous and claim he is so popular that they’re just suing for the notoriety:
‘They filed that lawsuit for free press and it’s obviously frivolous. I have a nationwide profile and they see it as an opportunity for nationwide press.’
Apparently he has been taking Trump lessons on how to puff out his chest and blow his own horn.
From The Hill:
‘The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida ripped Judd’s threat in a statement, accusing him of “exploiting a natural disaster and endangering lives.’
‘With a storm of Irma’s size and ferocity bearing down on the people of our state, Sheriff Judd should be working to prepare his community, not burnishing his Joe Arpaio-style ‘tough cop’ credentials with a series of irresponsible tweets.’
Judd’s defense is that the policy was put into place to keep sexual offenders out of family shelters. But there is a hitch in that line of reasoning — driver’s licenses in Florida clearly identify sexual predators, so a complete background check isn’t necessary. Maybe he should have known that little fact?
Hurricane Irma is still sputtering around, downgraded to a Category 1 tropical storm, with winds at 50 mph and heading toward Albany, GA. She ravaged the state of Florida with winds and rain, but overall the damage was not as bad as predicted and residents are sighing in relief that it is almost done – except for the aftermath.
Featured image from Twitter.