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Michigan Sheriffs' Association condemns sheriff who defended alleged plotters against Governor

Barry County

The Michigan Sheriffs' Association says it condemns statements made by Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf after the arrests of militia members who allegedly plotted to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

At least one of the alleged terrorists lived in Barry County.

"It's just a charge," Leaf told WXMI-Fox 17. "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 until proven guilty so I'm not even sure if they had any part of it."

Leaf later tried to walk back the statements.

"The Michigan Sheriffs' Association condemns the statement by Sheriff Leaf in the wake of the alleged plot by what appears to be organized domestic terrorists to kidnap Governor Whitmer, attack the Capitol Building, and take hostages, and target law enforcement," a statement signed by MSA Executive Director Matthew Sexton said.

"His comments were dangerous, and let me be clear, there is nothing about this alleged plot that could be construed as legal, moral, or American."

In May, Leaf appeared on stage at a rally with two of the men now charged with domestic terrorism in the plot. 

Wood-TV reports some residents plan to ask Barry County Board of Commissioners to demand that Leaf resign. He is running unopposed for re-election in November.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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