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Florida sheriff recommends residents shoot looters who break into homes

Florida sheriff recommends residents shoot looters who break into homes
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A sheriff of a Florida county encouraged residents to shoot any potential looters during a Tuesday press conference, as he noted that there had been “zero incidents of protest-related violence” in the county. 

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Tuesday the three protests in the county were all peaceful and said no violence was reported. 

He added, however, that officials “received information off social media that some of the criminals were going to take criminal conduct into neighborhoods.” 

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“I would tell them if you value your life you 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,” the sheriff said.

Polk County is located east of the city of Tampa in central Florida. 

“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,” he added. 

He also encouraged peaceful protesting and said that officers will work to “make sure we protect your constitutional right to do that.” 

Protesters have been demonstrating across the country against police brutality, sparked by the death of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis police custody. Some protests have turned violent at times, leading officials in some cities and states to impose curfews and deploy members of the National Guard. 

Floyd died last week after an officer knelt on his neck for several minutes. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired and charged. His charges were upgraded Wednesday to second-degree murder. 

Three other fired officers, initially not charged, were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder, Minnesota Attorney General Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonPennsylvania AG on Trump's mail-in voting attacks: 'He's just trying to create chaos' Judge dismisses third-degree murder charge against officer in Floyd death Private security contractors advertising jobs for armed guards at Minnesota polling places: report MORE (D) said at a Wednesday press conference.