Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott has suspended the sheriff of the State’s least-populous county after he allegedly set free a man who’d been arrested for possessing a weapon without a permit.
Nick Finch, sheriff of Liberty County near the State’s Alabama-Georgia border, faces a 3rd-degree felony charge for official misconduct after evidently destroying or altering the paper trail that began when one of his deputies brought in a motorist who had two handguns in his car.
The motorist, Floyd Parrish, didn’t have a concealed-carry permit and was subsequently charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon. Car carry is legal in Florida for those without a conceal-carry permit, but the law stipulates such firearms must be securely encased or not readily accessible for immediate use – two stipulations which Parrish allegedly didn’t meet when he was pulled over in Liberty County.
Parrish stayed in jail until Sheriff Finch arrived, accompanied by the suspect’s brother. Finch allegedly spoke to both men about the incident before ordering that the charges be dropped and Parrish be released.
According to the JCFloridian, Finch allegedly told the deputy who’d arrested Parrish that he “believed in 2nd Amendment rights” and instructed jail staff to return his confiscated firearms.
But the Florida Department of Law Enforcement learned of the incident, which occurred in March, and obtained an arrest warrant for Finch. He was arrested and booked into the Liberty County jail last week before being released on his own recognizance. Gov. Scott has since suspended Finch and temporarily installed a regional agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as acting sheriff.
Finch’s arrest for exercising his judgment in protecting another citizen’s Constitutional freedom has drawn anger from both locals and 2nd Amendment advocates throughout the U.S.
One Liberty County man said Finch may have been a sitting duck among longtime power brokers in a good old boy network,“[s]ince he’s considered what people consider an outsider and not from Liberty County, that they finally railroaded him out. In my personal opinion he was doing his job and people didn’t like it.”
Though Finch has not commented on his arrest, his attorney has said it’s ridiculous to construe the sheriff’s actions as anything but proper defense of his constituents’ Constitutional rights.
“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,” said attorney Jimmy Judkins.
Dean Garrison of DC Clothesline agrees:
With so many Sheriff’s offices making strong pro-2nd Amendment stands in 2013 this is a situation that was bound to happen. The Sheriff had every right not to charge this man. The 2nd Amendment of the constitution should supercede any Florida law. “Shall Not Be Infringed” still means something to men like Nick Finch.
The whole case will surely become about the documents. If Nick Finch destroyed the documents they will make an example of him for all of us to see. They have been waiting for this opportunity. This case will not be prosecuted to the extent that Nick Finch did not understand the 2nd Amendment. They will try to get him on a technicality.
Pro-2nd Amendment law enforcement officials all over the country need to take note. They are looking for any backdoor they can to try to shut you down. This story should be national news soon. My hope is that Finch did not destroy the documents and this case can be heard on its real merits.
Nick Finch was elected sheriff of Liberty, a county of only 8,400 people, in November of last year.