As south Florida braces itself for Hurricane Irma on course to hit land this weekend, a local Florida sheriff has a different warning for citizens in the impending disaster area.
Tweeting from the Polk County Sheriff’s official account, the sheriff warned those with outstanding warrants to not seek refuge at shelters or risk arrest:
The warning is untimely given the historic strength of the storm and its potential damage. Hurricane Irma is expected to hit Florida as a category 4 storm, potentially leaving Floridians without power for days and over 100,000 homeless, Fox News reports.
With warrants issued for many crimes ranging from minor incidents like traffic stops or failure to appear in court, the sheriff leveraging a scare tactic to prevent people from seeking shelter is cruel and removed.
The Daily Beast reached out to the sheriff’s department who confirmed they will be checking IDs at shelters.
“I don’t know at this point what the storm will do,” Carrie Horstman, spokesperson for the office, told the Daily Beast. “We are trying to give people a heads-up as many days in advance as possible to prepare [for] this storm.”
“While we are checking, if we see someone with an active warrant, we have to place them under arrest,” Horstman said.
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