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Sunday, July 5, 2020

Florida sheriff who said he would deputize 'every lawful gun owner' against protesters now says he legally can’t do that

Posted By on Sun, Jul 5, 2020 at 9:34 AM

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Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels clarified on Wednesday the statements he made warning Black Lives Matter protesters that he can deputize “every lawful gun owner” in the county.

In the video clearing up his headline-producing statements, Daniels said: “We have not given, and will never give anybody the autonomy or approval under the name of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.”

He added that authorizing local residents to use deadly force on protesters would be a violation of his duties as a sheriff and of state statute.

“That is our responsibility,” said Daniels. “But when it comes to protecting this county, that is more than the sheriff’s office responsibility. It’s us collectively, it’s our county, it’s our community and our responsibility to police ourselves together, but when it comes to authority, the authority is the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and every sworn law enforcement officer in this jurisdiction.”

In the initial video, which used department resources, Daniels stood in front of more than 15 deputies to give the warning message to potential Black Lives Matter protesters.

Currently, Daniels is accused of ordering the arrest of Cierra Smith, a former Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Corrections Officer, who he said was allegedly having an extramarital affair.

Earlier this week, the Florida State Attorney overseeing the investigation into Daniels asked Gov. Ron DeSantis in a letter to assign another prosecutor.
This story originally appeared in our sister paper Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.
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