With two Florida police officers killed while on duty and a manhunt for the suspect underway, one man stood outside a Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office with a sign.
But he wasn’t expressing support for the police.
The man, identified by Charlotte County deputies as Ian McGuire, wore a sign that read “2 cops dead in Orlando. God bless the shooter,” NBC2 WBBH reported.
Man stands outside sheriff’s office to show support for cop killer https://t.co/fvzLiZ24zP
— NBC2 (@NBC2) January 12, 2017
Orange County deputy Norman Lewis was reportedly killed in a crash Jan. 9 in the search for suspect Markeith Loyd, who authorities say shot and killed Orlando Master Sgt. Debra Clayton earlier the same day. Loyd was also wanted for murder in the shooting death of his pregnant girlfriend in December.
McGuire filmed a nine-minute video of his encounter with the sheriff’s staff and passers-by in the shopping plaza, saying he was conducting a “First Amendment audit.”
The Sheriff’s Department is familiar with McGuire as he has shown up at their door before. He has had five arrests since 2009, according to WFTX-TV.
“I was shocked. I can’t believe someone would do that,”Sherie Enwright told WBBH, reacting to McGuire’s sign. “I think it’s rotten. I think it’s horrible. These cops put their lives on the line every day when they go to work for us.”
While police certainly don’t support McGuire’s message, they said they’ll defend his First Amendment right to express his views.
“It’s his right to have his opinion, but I don’t think he should be posting that like that because it gives a bad aspect to other people,” Courtney Latrella told WBBH, adding that signs like McGuire’s are what prompt people to target law enforcement.
“It’s saying, ‘Oh, it’s OK to shoot cops.’ So now more people are going to be like, ‘Oh, everybody’s okay with it, so let’s go shoot some more cops,'” Latrella said.
This time, McGuire was not arrested and eventually left the scene.
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