Clay County, Florida, Sheriff Darryl Daniels is threatening to deputize gun-owning residents in his jurisdiction to help quell any “lawlessness” that may occur during protests in his county, according to the Florida Times-Union.
According to the report, the sheriff posted a three-minute video on Tuesday slamming the protesters for their perceived “lawlessness,” accusing them of creating issues where they are none.
“You can threaten all you want. You can say let’s go to Clay County or let’s go to some other peaceful county where problems don’t exist, where relationships are great and not strained, and where the people support their sheriff and support the men and women in uniform. And you’ll have something waiting you don’t want,” Daniels said in the video address where he is surrounded by deputies.
“Yes, we’ll protect your constitutional rights as long as you remain under the umbrellas of peaceful protest or peaceful march. But the second you step out from up under [the] protection of the Constitution, we’ll be waiting on you and we’ll give you everything you want,” Daniels added.
As such, Daniels, who also happens to be the county’s first Black sheriff, vowed to make use of the gun-owning residents of the county to help deputies manage the protesters.
“If we can’t handle you, I’ll exercise the power and authority as the sheriff, and I’ll make special deputies of every lawful gun owner in this county and I’ll deputize them for this one purpose to stand in the gap between lawlessness and civility,” Daniels said. “That’s what we’re sworn to do. That’s what we’re going to do. You’ve been warned.”
Despite his rant about “lawlessness,” as the Times-Union notes, Daniels is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in relation to an affair with a former colleague—who was subsequently falsely arrested—while Daniels was employed at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Currently, Daniels, who has dreams of being a congressman, is up for reelection.