That didn’t take long.
Just days after a Florida Sheriff warned fugitives they would be arrested if they sought hurricane shelter, someone challenged the order with a lawsuit.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd was sued by someone allegedly seeking shelter from Hurricane Irma who was asked to undergo a background check, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
— Orlando Sentinel (@orlandosentinel) September 11, 2017
The tough talking sheriff sought to keep shelters safe and declared in a tweet last week that law enforcement officers “will be at every shelter, checking IDs. Sex offenders/predators will not be allowed.” He extended the warning in another tweet, promising anyone with an arrest warrant that Sheriff’s deputies would “gladly escort you to the safe and secure shelter called the Polk County Jail.”
Andres Borreno filed a lawsuit Sunday alleging that he was told by officials that he had to have a background check before he entered the emergency shelter he tried to access on Saturday. The complaint stated that Borreno was never told by the officer if he was suspected of a crime.
“Criminal suspicion is not raised by trying to enter an emergency shelter to save one’s life and the life of family members,” the complaint stated, without mentioning at which shelter the incident occurred.
“Judd’s statement that his conduct is aimed toward sexual predators is nothing more than a guise for undertaking unconstitutional searches and seizures. First, the state of Florida requires each person who has been designated a sexual predator/offender who has a driver’s license/Identification card to have on that card—in big bold letters—that said person is a sexual predator/offender,” the complaint continued.
Borreno, of Virginia, is being represented by an immigrant rights group, Nexus Services, whose CEO Mike Donovan dramatically commented on the sheriff’s tweets.
“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,” he said in a statement.
Judd dismissed the lawsuit as “frivolous” and told the Sentinel he had no intentions of changing his policy.
“They filed that lawsuit for free press and it’s obviously frivolous. I have a nationwide profile and they see it as an opportunity for nationwide press,” the sheriff concluded, noting that Borreno was treated just like everyone else and was even offered shelter and a ride to the jail.
He pointed out that 43 sex offenders in Polk County were sheltered in an area of the Polk County jail that was not behind bars and were not being held in custody.
“We check everyone who comes to a shelter to ensure they aren’t a sexual predator or a child sexual offender,” Judd said. “We are absolutely not going to let a sexual predator or a child sexual offender sleep next to a child in a storm shelter.”
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