Sheriff’s Misconduct Trial Has Hard Right Wingers Furious
A gun-crazy sheriff who subscribes to the specious belief that county sheriffs are the nation’s highest legal authority is on trial — and a group with anti-government sentiments is screaming bloody murder:
The trial of a Florida sheriff on a charge of official misconduct is attracting the attention of so-called “constitutional sheriffs” and the far-right Oath Keepers, who claim that the sheriff – Nick Finch of Liberty County – was only standing up for the Second Amendment when he “nullified” the arrest of a citizen on a concealed-weapon charge.
Those activists see the Finch trial as a showdown between their “constitutionalist” belief that the county sheriff is the highest authority in the nation and state and federal authorities intent on imposing their “tyranny” on the citizenry. In reality, Finch was arrested for allegedly tampering with the arrest record of a man on a concealment charge because he believed enforcing the law violated the Second Amendment.
Finch was arrested in June by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and charged with one count of official misconduct, a third-degree felony, for having “destroyed or removed official arrest documents” and making it appear an arrest had never occurred, including whiting out the suspect’s name in the booking log. His trial in Bristol began this week.
Finch, 50, first elected in 2012, has been suspended and could be permanently removed from office. …
After Finch’s arrest in June, his case drew the attention of Richard Mack, the erstwhile Arizona sheriff who now runs the far-right Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, an organization that draws its beliefs in the supremacy of the county sheriffs from old, anti-Semitic Posse Comitatus ideology. Also attracted to the cause were the conspiracy-minded Oath Keepers, who organized a fundraiser for Finch’s legal defense in August.