Florida Sheriff Threatens to Arrest People Fleeing Hurricane Irma If They Have Warrants

Florida sheriff Grady Judd said Wednesday that he’ll arrest those seeking shelter from Hurricane Irma if they have warrants.

“If you go to a shelter for #Irma, be advised: sworn [law enforcement officers] will be at every shelter, checking IDs. Sex offenders/predators will not be allowed,” the Polk County Sheriff’s Office tweeted Wednesday morning as the hurricane hit the Virgin Islands. “If you go to a shelter for #Irma and you have a warrant, we’ll gladly escort you to the safe and secure shelter called the Polk County Jail.”

The tweet sparked swift backlash online, as many critics noted that there could be arrest warrants out for offenses as minimal as parking tickets.

Wednesday wasn’t the first time Judd has been criticized for his law enforcement practices. In 2012, the Southern Poverty Law Center sued his office in federal court for “regularly subjecting children held at the county’s adult jail to abuse, neglect, and violence—including the placement of children in a cage for punishment,” according to the nonprofit.

While one federal judge overseeing the case criticized Judd in 2013 for using pepper spray against juveniles, another federal judge ruled in favor of Judd in 2015 and threw out the suit, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

“This guy has been abusing people’s constitutional rights for 15, 20 years,” first Amendment attorney Larry Walters told the Tampa Bay Times in 2011 of Judd, “He has a real hostility toward sexual expression. Anything erotic he assumes to be illegal.”