Florida Sheriff Threatens to Arrest Wanted Felons Seeking Shelter from Hurricane Irma
As Hurricane Irma races toward Florida packing winds of 155 miles per hour, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says he will jail wanted felons who arrive at shelters in the wake of mandatory evacuation orders.
“If you go to a shelter for #Irma and you have a warrant, we'll gladly escort you to the safe and secure shelter called the Polk County Jail,” the Polk County Sheriff posted on twitter.
The outspoken sheriff—who has upwards of 66,000 followers on twitter— further posted that officers would be at every shelter checking IDs and that sex offenders and sex predators would not be allowed inside.
“We cannot and we will not have innocent children in a shelter with sexual offenders and predators. Period,”
Judd’s comments drew fire from the ACLU, citing that the sheriff’s statements sent the message that individuals must choose between “facing a natural disaster without aid and shelter or going to jail over things like unpaid traffic tickets”.
Undocumented immigrants were excluded from the policy sheriff officials say this is not a new policy, but one that dates back at least to 2004.
“Officers are legally obligated to take a person into custody if they have a warrant,” said an official, who stressed that they were more interested in keeping people in the shelters safe, than arresting individuals.