In early June, Liberty County, Fla., Sheriff Nick Finch was arrested for official misconduct and suspended from office by Governor Rick Scott.
The sheriff’s offense? He set free a man who’d been arrested for carrying a firearm without a permit during a routine traffic stop. The motorist, who was charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon, was let go after Finch discussed what had happened with the man and his brother (who’d come to the jail to find out what had happened) and determining the arrested man had a 2nd Amendment right to have the firearm in his car.
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 the suspect allegedly didn’t meet when he was pulled over in Liberty County. Finch, who reportedly told the arresting deputy he “believed in 2nd Amendment rights,” returned the man’s confiscated weapon and, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), “destroyed or removed official arrest documents from the Liberty County Jail, making it appear as though an arrest never occurred.”
In a recent interview with Michael Lofti from the grass-roots journalism e-zine Ben Swann, Finch said he would “Absolutely not” do things differently if he could go back and relive the incident.
“I wouldn’t have done anything different,” he said. “Once I became aware of the arrest, I immediately called the clerk and told her not to book Parrish. I am a Desert Storm veteran. I took an oath to protect the Constitution in the army and again as a sheriff. The state is charging me with destroying documents, which never existed. They do not have a case.”
Finch said the fact that the State offered to drop the charges against him, if only he’d resign from office, strongly indicates a political, and not a judicial, motive behind his prosecution.
With Finch’s Sept. 30 trial date approaching, the case is being closely watched by local supporters and people nationwide concerned that the State is tightening its grip on citizens’ 2nd Amendment freedoms and the elected officials, like Finch, who would stand alongside the people to defend them.
Tea Party supporters, conservative law enforcement organizations and Constitutionalists from across the country are planning to attend an Aug. 24 fundraiser in Panama City, Fla., for Finch’s legal defense fund, which is also collecting money on a website administered by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association.
Fred Brownbill of the Save America Foundation explained the importance of the Finch case in his call for people to attend the fundraising event.
As you know, the office of the county sheriff is under attack in many places. The Constitutional sheriff is a threat to tyranny. The duty of the Constitutional county sheriff is to protect and defend the Constitution and to interpose himself between his people and anyone who would violate their rights.