The sheriff of Clay County, Florida, is warning people against falling “victim to this conversation that law enforcement is bad, that law enforcement is the enemy of the citizens that we’re sworn to protect and serve.”
In a three-minute video posted this week by Sheriff Darryl Daniels, the public servant called out the “mainstream media” for leaving God out of much of its dialogue and reporting on the Black Lives Matter movement and calls to disband and dismantle police departments around the country.
The sheriff pointed out that law enforcement officers take an oath “to support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the government. … And we end that with, ‘So help me God.’”
“But,” Daniels continued, “God is absent from the media’s message or Black Lives Matter or any other group that’s making themselves a spectacle, disrupting what we know to be our quality of life in this country.”
He then gave a staunch warning to any aggressive or violent protesters who might try to come into Clay County to cause a disruption.
Daniels announced in the video he would “make special deputies of every lawful gun owner” in the county if the demonstrators were to overwhelm the sheriff’s department.
“If we can’t handle you,” he explained. “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.”
According to a 2019 report from The Florida Times-Union, Daniels — the county’s first black sheriff — was under investigation last year by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement over an alleged affair he had with a fellow officer when he was with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Daniels reportedly called 911 on his ex-lover, Cierra Smith, with whom he was involved in a relationship for six years. He accused her of stalking and asked his own deputies to place her under arrest. She was detained for six hours, but was not jailed because an assistant state attorney found no probable cause to keep her in county custody.
At the end of the video, Daniels told would-be violent protesters: “You’ve been warned.”
The video, posted to the official Facebook account for the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, has so far garnered more than a quarter of a million views. It’s been shared more than 6,000 times and has over 5,000 “likes.”