The Sheriff for Palm Beach County, Florida, has found himself at the center of controversy, after he encouraged drivers to run into protesters. The statement was made at a community meeting in Boynton Beach, Florida. The Sheriff reportedly told a group of citizens that they should run over protesters if they are observed blocking the road.
In the January 14th meeting, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office stoked racial fears, calling for vehicular assaults and homicides in response to protesters who he characterized as “violent thugs” who “killed white people with hammers in other parts of the country.”
“With our limited budget, we just don’t have the manpower to be policing the community like we should be. You should be very concerned if you come across these protesters because they are very violent thugs and have even killed white people with hammers in other parts of the country. Now they are blocking the roads with their arms in barrels and we just don’t know what those barrels contain. For all we know, they could contain weapons to use when unsuspecting drivers get close. If you see these people, stop your vehicle as far as possible and back away before they can attack.”
The Sheriff continued, telling a concerned elderly lady that, “Your safety is far more valuable than those violent thugs illegally blocking the roadways. If you see the protesters, and you can’t back up, stopping will make you an easy target for violence, robbery or murder. If you are driving on a Florida roadway, it is up to them to move, so sit as low as possible in your car and accelerate forward. If you run over protesters, remember that your safety comes first and they shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Whatever you do, I can’t emphasize enough how important enough it is not to stop and if they are injured, they brought it upon themselves.”
Recently, an investigative reporter for local WPTV Channel 5, Katie Legrone, exposed the Sheriff’s involvement in a massive cover-up related to the killing of two African American deputies who had been deploying stop sticks. A Caucasian deputy driving over 106 mph ran into them, but in spite of the lead traffic homicide investigator determining that the deputy driving should be charged with vehicular manslaughter, Sheriff Bradshaw removed that investigator from the case and replaced him with one who would find the deputy innocent of any wrongdoing.
Sheriff Bradshaw also has been at the center of more than 40 discrimination lawsuits filed against him. One of these resulted in a payout of over $1 million. Another stated that he showed photos and bragged about an incident where a police canine ripped the testicles off an African American man. He was also found to have stolen weapons out of the police evidence locker, presumably to plant an illegal gun on a suspect at a later date.