Lawsuit Filed Against Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd For Saying He’d Arrest Wanted People
Lawsuit Filed Against Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd Over Tweet
Polk County, FL – A lawsuit has been filed against Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd after his social media post to fugitives that they would still be arrested during Hurricane Irma, which was approaching the state of Florida at the time.
The lawsuit was filed by Nexus Carridade Services, Inc., who is one of the largest providers of pro bono attorney’s services in the country, according to ABCActionNews.
The tweet from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, they said:
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.
If you go a shelter for #Irma, be advised: sworn LEOs will be at every shelter, checking IDs. Sex offenders/predators not allowed.
A warrant is an order from a judge which mandates that peace officers arrest the named suspect.
Nexus Carridade Services is alleging in its lawsuit that Sheriff Judd and Polk County “are engaging in a practice of discouraging people from seeking emergency shelter through fear, and conducting unconstitutional pedestrian warrant checks on Floridians in crisis, who are seeking life sustaining shelter from a major Hurricane.”
The group specializes in getting attorneys for people who are arrested on immigration violations and offenses.
The lawsuit was filed by Nexus on behalf of Andres Borreno, according to The Washington Post. Borreno said that Sheriff Judd’s deputies “demanded” that he submit to an ID check before allowing him into a shelter on Saturday, September 9. He refused and left.
Borreno’s actions show that the warrant check was voluntary, because he had the choice to leave and his constitutional rights were not violated.
Mike Donovan, CEO, said “Sheriff Grady Judd knew that people would be afraid because of his statements earlier this week. That fear is causing them to not seek shelter, and that as a result people… Men, women, and children, may die.
“This storm is deadly, and how many people will die or be injured because of Judd’s reckless tweets? The Sheriff has sworn an oath to protect people, not endanger them. His actions are reckless and unconstitutional, and he needs to be held accountable for his actions.”
Other statements within the lawsuit refer to violations of the Fourth Amendment.
According to the press release from Nexus, Sheriff Judd’s social media post “prompted” them to begin assistance to residents by providing them with transportation or lodging information if they had to evacuate and were afraid to because of what they described as “Sheriff Judd’s threats” to enforce the law.
They also established a 24-hour hotline those they described for those as “being in fear and in need of help.” This is also known as aiding wanted criminals.
Sheriff Judd was managing hurricane operations, and was unavailable for comment. His director of communications, Scott Wilder said that the “people who filed the lawsuit are lying to you.”
He also said, “We have not read whatever they say they have filed. Whatever it is, it’s frivolous and without merit.”
Wilder defended Sheriff Judd’s comments, and said that he was trying to protect women and children at shelters from “the dangerous elements in the community.”
He said, “We are not allowing sexual predators or offenders into the shelters, and added “…that at any point, there are about 8,000 active warrants in Polk County.”
He also said, “If, while manning a shelter, we are made aware of someone with an active warrant during a hurricane, or walking down the street, or in a store, we have to place them under arrest. A storm doesn’t give someone a free pass to violate the law.”