A Michigan Sheriff has come under fire for defending the group of people who were arrested in a domestic terrorism plot to kidnap his state’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer.
Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf made the controversial comments to the media, saying that the plot against her might have been lawful because of her crimes against the constitution and that he understands their motives in light of her recent abuses of authority surrounding coronavirus restrictions.
Thirteen people were charged in the alleged plot that included plans to overthrow several state governments that those involved believe are violating the constitution. Six people are facing federal charges of conspiracy to kidnap, while seven others, who are associated with a group called The Wolverine Watchmen, were charged by the state.
According to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, the suspects in state custody attempted to identify law enforcement officers’ home addresses so they could target them, threatened violence to instigate a civil war, and planned and trained for an operation to attack Michigan’s Capitol building and kidnap government officials including the governor.
Leaf once shared a stage with one of the suspects, William Null, in a protest against coronavirus shutdowns in Grand Rapids in May. Appearing as a guest speaker at the event, Leaf compared coronavirus shutdowns to being arrested and said that the government was taking people’s free will away from them.
He said: “It’s just a charge, and they say a ‘plot to kidnap’ and you got to remember that. Are they trying to kidnap? Because a lot of people are angry with the governor, and they want her arrested. So, are they trying to arrest or was it a kidnap attempt? Because you can still in Michigan if it’s a felony, make a felony arrest.
“These guys are innocent till proven guilty so I’m not even sure if they had any part of it,” he added.
Residents have criticized the sheriff’s ties to the Null brothers, and some are calling for his resignation. Barry County Prosecutor Julie Nakfoor Pratt said that Leaf’s comments do not represent the position of the Barry County law enforcement community.
She said: “There is no logical, legal or ethical basis for statements that defend or condone behavior that threatens the safety of Governor Whitmer, fellow law enforcement, or any other citizen in this country.”
The criminal complaint states that the suspects were at a meeting in a Grand Rapids basement accessed by a secret trap door where attendees “discussed plans for assaulting the Michigan State Capitol, countering law enforcement first responders, and using ‘Molotov cocktails’ to destroy police vehicles.”
Does that sound like the type of behavior that a sheriff should be defending in any way?
Another of the alleged plotters, Daniel Harris, attended a protest for Black Lives Matter in June, telling the Oakland County Times that he was upset about the George Floyd killing and police violence.
Accused plotter Brandon Casserta, meanwhile, can be seen in video footage with an anarchist flag calling Trump a “tyrant.”
This goes directly against the mainstream media narrative that the plotters were all right-wing militia men inspired by Trump.
It’s interesting how the media is trying to paint this as being a far-right extremist plot when so many of those involved have been embracing very liberal positions. Although the AP reported that there are no indications in the criminal complaint that these men were inspired by Trump, the media continues to try to place the blame on the president.
Sources for this article include: