The residents of Liberty County, Florida heard the news Wednesday that their Sheriff was arrested for doing his job. Sheriff Nicholas Finch, 50, was booked into the Liberty County Jail around 5 pm Tuesday. Florida Governor Rick Scott has named Carl Causey to the post of interim county sheriff. Liberty County is situated in the Florida panhandle, about 40 miles west of the state capital, Tallahassee.
Finch is being charged with official misconduct. He was released from jail on his own recognizance shortly after being booked in.
The charge is related to an incident in March, in which a deputy sheriff arrested a resident of the county for carrying a concealed weapon. Finch made the decision to release the individual shortly afterwards. It is alleged that he then altered or destroyed paperwork relating to the arrest.
Finch has not commented on the matter himself, but his attorney, Jimmy Judkins, released a statement which read ”The records at the jail show exactly what happened in this case and the records speak the truth. The sheriff looked at the facts and said ‘I believe in the second amendment and we’re not going to charge him.’ That is not misconduct at all. That is within the Sheriff’s prerogative whether to charge someone or not.” It appears, therefore, that the Florida sheriff was arrested for doing his job.
Following the March 8th incident, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) served a search warrant at the county jail. A press release from FDLE announced the arrest yesterday. The case will go to the State Attorney’s Office, 2nd Judicial Circuit.
One Liberty County resident told news station WCTV: “In my personal opinion he was doing his job and people didn’t like it.”
Carl Causey, who will replace Sheriff Finch – at least until July 4th – was the Assistant Special Agent in Charge for FDLE’s Pensacola Region. Prior to that, he spent 11 years with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. Finch was elected Sheriff of Liberty County in November 2012.
In February of this year, all 67 county sheriffs in Florida signed a pledge declaring that they would uphold the 2nd Amendment and protect people’s’ right to keep and bear arms. Sheriff Finch was a signatory to the pledge.
The Sheriff’s Association in the neighboring state of Georgia have made a similar pledge to protect the 2nd Amendment. A statement on the GSA website reads “The sheriffs took an oath to support the Constitution and will stand by the 2nd Amendment. The sheriffs will aggressively oppose federal or state legislation which infringes upon law-abiding citizens’ right to bear arms. Sheriff Clay N. Whittle of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department, said during a radio interview “…we are not going to allow anyone to come into the State of Georgia and violate the Constitution or it’s Amendments, and that specifically carries with it defense of the Second Amendment.” Sheriff Whittle went on to explain the original purpose of the 2nd Amendment: ““The original signers of the Declaration (Constitution) wanted to make sure that people understood that it was about defense of the country against a tyrannical government.”
Sheriffs and police chiefs from across the country have voiced similar opinions. The case of Finch, the Florida sheriff arrested for doing his job, may be the opening shot in a battle between the politicians who wish to negate the 2nd amendment and the law enforcement officers who know that the presence of armed civilians makes their job easier, and who are determined to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens.