LAKELAND, Fla. - Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd didn't mince words at Monday's news conference when it came to looters.
While expressing admiration for the peaceful protesters in Lakeland and across the country, Judd then blasted those who would try to resort to violence.
"Let there be no misunderstanding, if you come here to riot, to loot, to injure people, we're going to lock you up in the county jail," Judd said. "We are going to hunt you down and lock you up if you engage in any criminal conduct."
He then issued a stern warning for anyone considering looting or breaking into Polk County homes.
“I would tell them, if you value your life, they probably shouldn’t do that in Polk County. Because the people of Polk County like guns, they have guns, I encourage them to own guns, and they’re going to be in their homes tonight with their guns loaded, and if you try to break into their homes to steal, to set fires, I’m highly recommending they blow you back out of the house with their guns. So, leave the community alone,” the sheriff said.
Judd expressed anger at George Floyd's death in Minneapolis.
“The death of George in Minneapolis at the hands of that police officer was outrageous,” Judd said. “Had that police officer done here what he did there, he would have been locked up in the county jail by sundown.”
The sheriff said rioters and looters were distracting from the message that peaceful protesters are trying to get across.
"All of that ugliness has taken away from what we're united about," Judd said. "We're united about the conduct that you saw with George [Floyd]."