Florida’s Polk County sheriff Grady Judd sparked widespread debate on Thursday after tweeting that all registered sex offenders will be turned away from safety shelters as the state prepares for a pummelling from Hurricane Irma.
Sheriff Judd wrote on his Twitter page that sex offenders and predators would not be allowed inside secure shelters and that anyone with a warrant out against them would be escorted to the Polk County Jail.
The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning for Florida late Thursday evening, forcing thousands of residents to seek shelter.
While shelters are usually open to all in times of emergencies, Sheriff Judd made his intentions clear.
His tweet quickly garnered attention and was flooded with thousands of comments. People were divided on the decision, with some praising the sheriff for taking a stand and other arguing he shouldn’t decide who lives and who dies.
“Sheriff Grady I love you!!!!! You’re awesome! Thank you for always standing your ground and taking care of your citizens,” wrote one Tweeter.
“That’s not profiling. This is 1. Doing his job arresting people that a court has ordered him to and 2. Protecting innocent children,” added another supporter.
But not all were convinced.
“Since when does Sheriff get to decide who lives and who dies? Way to go-exclude “certain citizens” Sheriff doesn’t like from safe shelter,” shot back another.
“Are you really profiling people seeking shelter from a natural disaster?! How downright disgusting are you going for?” wrote one angry Tweeter.