USA TODAY.COM JULY 1, 2020 – Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels, no stranger to making viral videos appealing to tough-on-crime politics, released a video Tuesday that said he will make “special deputies of every lawful gun owner in this county” if he feels the county is overwhelmed by protesters.
The three-minute video shows Daniels standing in front of 18 deputies as he derides civil rights protesters as godless disruptors and tells them to stay out of Clay County, a suburb of Jacksonville.
“If we can’t handle you, 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,” he said.
“That’s what we’re sworn to do. That’s what we’re going to do. You’ve been warned.”
Daniels, the county’s first Black sheriff, is himself under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement related to an affair he had with a fellow officer when he was at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and a subsequent false arrest of that officer.
Daniels is a first-term sheriff up for reelection who has said he wants to one day be a congressman. He is being challenged by six opponents, including former Atlantic Beach Police Chief Michelle Cook, former Clay County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management Director Ben Carroll and Mike Taylor, a former FDLE agent and state attorney’s investigator who has earned the endorsement of former Gov. Jeb Bush.
His challengers accused him of inviting chaos to Clay County and insulting the training necessary to become a sheriff’s deputy.
“We train under intense situations to control the adrenaline dump,” Taylor said, “and we don’t do a perfect job at it, but we train to be prepared to make decisions under pressure. That’s necessary to be effective. To think we can put anyone in that role and it’ll be OK, we’re asking for a much bigger problem and inviting chaos and anarchy in the streets. The citizens of Clay County deserve better than that.” [full article]