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Florida Sheriff Literally Threatens Hurricane Irma Evacuees Seeking Shelter With Jail Time

For your viral consideration, here’s how Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is welcoming Irma evacuees:

The response to Judd’s tweet was decidedly unsympathetic.

Twitter users accused the Sheriff of endangering lives because the threat of jail time might discourage people with warrants from seeking shelter.

Others accused Judd of responsibility for any deaths related to the threat:

Those concerns were brushed away by Polk County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Carrie Horstman, who said in comments to the Orlando Sentinel, “Officers are legally obligated to take a person into custody if they have a warrant.”

LawNewz reached out to Hortsman for clarification on whether the threatened jail time would include people wanted for non-violent crimes like parking tickets, traffic tickets and low-level drug offenses. She replied in the affirmative, and said, “We hope that people who realize they have warrants will turn themselves in.”

When questioned as to the safety of using Polk County jail as a de facto shelter for people with outstanding warrants, she said, “We’re well aware of what our facilities can and can’t handle. If there’s an issue regarding the safety of our inmates, we’ll consider moving them somewhere else, we’ll take care of it.”

Sheriff Grady Judd is well-known in his county for controversial statements and actions in the past. He’s urged residents to carry guns in the wake of mass shootings. He once cracked a joke about police shooting a suspect 68 times. And, in 2012, Grady was sued by a civil rights organization for “subjecting children held at the county’s adult jail to abuse, neglect and violence.”

[image via screengrab]

Follow Colin Kalmbacher on Twitter: @colinkalmbacher

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