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Polk County Sheriff Goes Off After Reporter Suggests He Play Nice with Gangsters, Tells the Room the Reality of the Situation

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Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County, Florida, schooled reporters who think coddling violent thugs is the way to curb crime, saying they need to “wake up” from their delusional stupor.

Judd made the remarks at a news conference Thursday while discussing first-degree murder charges against 19-year-old gang member La’Darion Chandler, who allegedly shot 33-year-old rival gangster John McGee in December and then bragged about it in a rap video, WTSP-TV in St. Petersburg reported.

“Listen, that’s a bunch of hooey, that soft and cuddly feeling ‘we’re going to hug a thug and if we give them, you know, another popsicle and an Icee and a day out at the park, they’re going to be good,'” the sheriff said.

“Y’all need to wake up! These dudes are taking y’all for fools. These are hardcore gangsters, gang bangers. They’ll eat your ice cream on Saturday and shoot up their rivals on Saturday night and smile at you in the meantime.”

Judd said gangsters become hardened on the streets because there’s no effective parenting at home.

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The sheriff said children generally learn values from their mothers and fathers. When that’s missing, he said, they turn to gangs to fill the parental gap, and that’s when they plunge into a downward spiral of criminality and self-destruction.

“At the end of the day, it all starts with parenting at home, when they’re young, and keeping them away from this lifestyle,” he explained.

Judd said there are limits to what laws can do to deter criminality and noted that Chandler was still on probation when he allegedly shot McGee.

“This kind of person is paying no attention [to the law] because they want to be cool. They want to be rappers. They want to be a power player in their community,” the sheriff said.

Should more effort be dedicated to eradicating gangs?

Accordingly, Judd said, early intervention is critical in steering at-risk youths away from a life of crime.

“So I tell everyone, you got the little-bitty dudes and dudettes at 4 and 5 and 6. Don’t let them watch this crap because that appears to be cool,” he said. “It’s not cool.”

Judd criticized “community do-gooders” at places such as the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice who argue against imprisoning violent youth because of their age.



The sheriff said these so-called do-gooders fail to understand that not holding violent youth accountable for their actions merely incentivizes more thuggish behavior.

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“You have this wave of people … I call them do-gooders, because they really mean well, their heart’s in the right place, and they just think if we hug them closer, that that’s going to make everything better, and all this will go away,” he said.

Judd said Chandler is a glaring example of how the system failed to stem brazen criminality, saying the young man boasted about killing his rival in a rap video he posted online.

WARNING: The following video contains vulgar language some viewers might find offensive.



“This kid got the full measure of the system. … If this guy is not locked up, he’s shooting somebody,” the sheriff said.

While Chandler is 19, he was 18 when he allegedly shot McGee to death.

Judd reiterated how critical parenting is to deter criminality among minors, saying when you “don’t raise your kid, the streets will raise your kid, but it’ll be violent.”

The sheriff is right. Liberal prosecutors in Democrat-run cities such as Chicago, Seattle and New York have incentivized more robberies, assaults, rapes and murders with their soft-on-crime policies and “kid-glove” treatment of recidivist criminals.

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