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Grady Judd
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, is shown in a May 16, 2008 photo in Bartow, Fla. Judd has embraced the media as another tool in his crime-fighting arsenal since he won a landslide election in 2004. And the 36-year veteran of the department rarely passes up an opportunity to issue a press release or call a news conference.(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

A Florida sheriff was sued after threatening to turn fugitives away from hurricane shelters


A man who says he was denied entry to a Florida hurricane shelter is suing Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, who made headlines after tweeting that he would arrest fugitives seeking shelter from Irma.

Ahead of Hurricane Irma's landfall, Judd tweeted that every shelter would be checking IDs to make sure sex offenders would not be admitted.

"If you go to a shelter for #Irma and you have a warrant, we'll gladly escort you to the safe and secure shelter called the Polk County Jail," he tweeted.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the lawsuit was filed Sunday by the immigrant rights group Nexus Services.

The suit claims that Andres Borreno of Virginia was told Saturday that he had to submit a criminal background check before being allowed to enter a shelter.

“The officer … also never told Borreno that he was suspected of any crime or illegal act at that time,” the suit states. “Criminal suspicion is not raised by trying to enter an emergency shelter to save one’s life and the life of family members.”

The suit also notes that Florida driver's licenses clearly indicate whether someone is a sex offender.

Judd responded to the lawsuit, calling it "frivolous."

“We check everyone who comes to a shelter to ensure they aren't a sexual predator or a child sexual offender,” he told the Orlando Sentinel.

He added that as of Sunday, the county jail was providing shelter for 43 sex offenders who were not in custody.

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