Message from Sheriff Grady Judd regarding protests.

Message from Sheriff Grady Judd

regarding protests.

June 1, 2020

My heart is full with gratitude for our community today. Monday night we had zero incidents of protest-related violence. There were three protests in Polk County—all were peaceful—there was no sign of outside agitators. Yesterday, Chief Ruben Garcia and I, along with Reverend Arthur Johnson and community leader Don Brown spoke to the media about our community-wide commitment to peaceful assembly in Polk County.
During the news conference I reminded everyone: “Let there be no misunderstanding, at all, that if you come here to riot, to loot, to injure people, we’re going to lock you up in the county jail before quick.”
I also said: “The message is clear, if you come here to peaceably assemble and protest, we’re gonna make sure we protect your constitutional right to do that and we encourage it. But for those who want to come in, stealthily, among those wonderful people who are simply making their position known, the ones that tried to infiltrate, we are going to hunt you down and lock you up if you engage in any criminal conduct.”
And, I told those at the meeting that we had received information on social media that some folks were threatening to take their criminal conduct into the neighborhoods. That’s not a good idea in Polk County: “I would tell them, if you value your life, they probably shouldn’t do that in Polk County. Because the people of Polk County like guns, they have guns, I encourage them to own guns, and 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. So, leave the community alone.”
My thanks go out to those who helped organize the peaceful protests in Polk County. This is a great, safe, peace-loving community. I am also thankful for our great Lakeland Police Department and other law enforcement partners for their professional work, and our own men and women who were out in force Sunday and Monday nights, keeping our community safe. As always, if you need us we are here. God bless, Grady