MI Sheriffs’ Association condemns Barry Co. sheriff’s comments

HASTINGS, Mich. (WOOD) — “Un-american.” That’s what the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association is calling recent comments made by Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf.

The fallout continues from comments he made about the charges against the men accused of attempting to kidnap Gov Gretchen Whitmer. Comments many feel were defending the men charged with domestic terrorism.

The Michigan Sheriffs’ Association stands by its decision to condemn Sheriff Leaf’s statements, describing it as disheartening.

“Unbelievable that somebody in law enforcement could somehow justify that the plot be legal, moral or even American,” said executive director of the MSA Matt Saxton. “It’s astounding.”

It was a unanimous decision by the MSA board to publicly condemn what Leaf said during an on-camera interview with a local TV station. At one point, Leaf suggested the men charged in connection to the kidnap, kill plot against the governor were trying to make a citizen’s arrest, which he is recorded saying would be legal.

“To say that a citizen could take the law into their own hands could be dangerous. Yes, it could be,” added Saxton.

Saxton who is the former Calhoun County Sheriff wrote the statement, which takes a strong stance at the beliefs shared by Leaf.

Saxton says the board unanimously approved the statement and reached out to Leaf before drafting it. The association wants to make it clear that there is no dispute in the fact that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. However, the alleged actions by these 13 men are anything but legal.

“If they don’t believe that the governor is acting lawfully, there is a criminal justice system that. That should be taken care of in the court of law,” Saxton said.

News 8 reached out to Leaf Wednesday for comment, which he has not yet responded to. But when we talked to him last week, he said he used the citizens arrests comment as an example of why we shouldn’t jump to conclusions because we don’t know what the suspects’ intentions were.