A Florida sheriff has found himself in the middle of a lawsuit after threatening to jail criminals seeking shelter from Hurricane Irma, the New York Daily News reports.
The suit, filed Sunday against Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd by Nexus Services, a Virginia-based inmate rights group, calls the policy discriminatory and a violation of Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure, the Orlando Sentinel writes.
The suit comes after Andres Borreno of Virginia tried to enter a shelter on Saturday and was told by Polk County deputies he would first have to submit to a criminal background check.
While the suit does not say if Borreno had an outstanding warrant, according to the report, Judd says Borreno was offered shelter at the jail and was offered a ride. Further, Judd, who calls the suit “frivolous,” argues that his goal was to prevent registered sex offenders from entering shelters. Nexus, however, argues that Florida driver’s licenses already identify sex offenders.
“We check everyone who comes to a shelter to ensure they aren’t a sexual predator or a child sexual offender,” Judd said, according to the Sentinel. “We are absolutely not going to let a sexual predator or a child sexual offender sleep next to a child in a storm shelter.”
Indeed, while unstated, the policy appears to have been directed at people of color. The suit comes at a time when Blacks and Hispanics make up about 56 percent of all incarcerated people in the U.S., although combined they represent 32 percent of the U.S. population, according to 2015 statistics gathered by the NAACP.
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1. Police and volunteers rescue residents flooded by the San Jacinto river in Kingwood, Tex.Source:Getty 1 of 14
2. A house is completely submerged in flood water.Source:Getty 2 of 14
3. A police officer carries a child to safety.Source:Getty 3 of 14
4. The Tellez family evacuates their home.Source:Getty 4 of 14
5. Residential neighborhoods near the Interstate 10 almost completely underwater.Source:Getty 5 of 14
6. An SUV is submerged in flood water.Source:Getty 6 of 14
7. A Houston resident walks through waist-deep flood water as she evacuates her home.Source:Getty 7 of 14
8. Young kids escape a flooded neighborhood.Source:Getty 8 of 14
9. Volunteers set up a temporary shelter for those who've had to evacuate their homes.Source:Getty 9 of 14
10. A large boat is pulled through shallow water in a flooded neighborhood.Source:Getty 10 of 14
11. A family is rescued in Houston.Source:Getty 11 of 14
12. Police and volunteers rescue residents flooded by the San Jacinto river in Kingwood, Tex.Source:Getty 12 of 14
13. Crosby, Tex. residents wade through flooded streets.Source:Getty 13 of 14
14. A dog is rescued from the floodwater.Source:Getty 14 of 14
Florida Sheriff Sued After Threatening To Jail Criminals Seeking Hurricane Shelter was originally published on newsone.com