Florida sheriff says he will deputize gun owners if violent protests erupt

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CLAY COUNTY, FL (WOWK) – The Clay County Sheriff’s Office sent out Sheriff’s Darryl Daniels video as an official response to the recent national unrest.

“Lawlessness, that’s unacceptable in Clay County,” Daniels said. “And if you threaten to come to Clay County and think that for one second that we’ll bend our backs for you, you’re sadly mistaken.”

Then Daniels goes on and says if his agency is ever overrun he’ll deputize regular citizens.

“If we can’t handle you, you know what I’ll do? I’ll exercise my power and authority as the sheriff and I’ll make special deputies of every lawful gun owner in this county,” he said.

Daniels’ opponents in the race for sheriff responded.

This is part of a statement from Mike Taylor: “I am deeply concerned at the recklessness displayed by Sheriff Daniels in his recent video taunting ‘would be’ protesters.”

Harold Rutledge echoes that. “(Daniels) has challenged rioters and looters to come to Clay County and cause mayhem. Clay County was not one anyone’s map to create turmoil until Sheriff Daniels put out his threat.”

“This political scam is a self-admission that he is not up to the job. If I was under criminal investigation by FDLE I would probably want to change the subject too,” said Michelle Cook, referencing the current Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation of Daniels.

News4Jax Crime and Safety Expert Ken Jefferson, who once ran for sheriff in Jacksonville, says he believes the video is an example of a free political ad and he questions whether Daniels will really deputize citizens.

“I think that’s a bluff more than anything,” he said. “It sounds good on the surface. You can’t have chaos among citizens. Citizens already have the right to defend themselves.”

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