Florida sheriff sued after threatening arrests at hurricane shelters

(WSVN) - A Florida sheriff is being sued after he said deputies would arrest anyone with an outstanding warrant who sought shelter during Hurricane Irma, and would turn away sex offenders from seeking refuge.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Andres Borreno is suing Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd after he claims he was denied entry to a shelter unless got a background check.

The suit, filed by immigrant rights group Nexus Services, states Florida driver’s licenses already clearly mark someone as a sex offender. They said the policy was discriminatory and violates Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office posted their initial message on Facebook and Twitter, telling residents that officers would be checking identification at each shelter location. Those who were registered sex offenders would be turned away, they warned, while those with outstanding warrants would be arrested and given shelter at the Polk County Jail.

RelatedCentral Florida sheriff says sex offenders will be turned away at hurricane shelters during Irma

The Orlando Sentinel reports that Borreno was told by deputies that he would have to submit to a criminal background check before he was allowed inside a shelter. However, the suit did not say if Borreno had an outstanding warrant. “The officer … also never told Borreno that he was suspected of any crime or illegal act at that time,” the suit stated.

Judd said the lawsuit was “frivolous” and said he would not change his policy.

“They filed that lawsuit for free press and it’s obviously frivolous,” he told the newspaper. “I have a nationwide profile and they see it as an opportunity for nationwide press.”

Judd said Borreno was offered shelter at the jail and was offered a ride, but he did not know if Borreno went to the shelter.

The Orlando Sentinel also reports that Borreno was not treated differently than others seeking shelter.

“We check everyone who comes to a shelter to ensure they aren’t a sexual predator or a child sexual offender,” Judd said.

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