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Florida sheriff, masked deputies compared to ISIS in viral video

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 5:29
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A message from the Lake County Sheriff's Office Community Engagement Unit posted on April 7, 2017. (Photo: Lake County Sheriff/Facebook)

A message from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Community Engagement Unit posted on April 7, 2017. (Photo: Lake County Sheriff/Facebook)

A sheriff’s office just north of Orlando is catching some heat for a video posted to Facebook on Friday.

In the video, Lake County Sheriff Peyton Grinnell stands behind a lectern flanked by four masked deputies, all of them members of the “Community Engagement Unit.” He calls on citizens to help his office go after heroin dealers, and then addresses the dealers themselves.

“To the dealers that are pushing this poison, I have a message for you: we’re coming for you,” Grinnell says as the camera zooms in on him, and dramatic music plays. “As a matter of fact, our undercover agents have already bought heroin from many of you. We are simply awaiting the arrest warrants to be finalized. So, to the dealers I say, enjoy looking over your shoulder constantly wondering if today’s the day we come for you. Enjoy trying to sleep tonight, wondering if tonight’s the night our SWAT team blows your front door off the hinges.”

“If our agents can show the nexus between you, the pusher of poison, and the person that overdoses and dies, we will charge you with murder,” he said. “We are coming for you. Run.”

The five men then turn and walk out of frame before a graphic comes up encouraging residents to submit an anonymous tip.

Several comments on the Facebook video compared Grinnell and his deputies to ISIS.

“As a former law enforcement officer, I cannot overstate how embarrassed this makes me feel for you guys,” wrote Pat Bohannan. “Jesus. Count the number of comments in here where people refer to you guys using the term “ISIS.’”

“This issue you started talking about is the same issue I’m talking to my children about right now,” wrote Carolina Arellano. “But I can’t watch this video, why do you look like terrorists in this video? This isn’t the society we should be building for our children.”

“When do the beheading videos come out?” wrote Ryan Seifert.

“I actually like my Law Enforcement to aggressiviley (sic) pursue and stop lawbreakers,” wrote Phil Gwinn. “Your video however is over the top.”

“Could you not scare the hell out of the people you’re asking for help?” asked Jennifer Leigh. “Take those kidnapper/robber masks off and smile.”

“Your goons look like ISIS,” wrote Tom Childs, adding, “you suck.”

“People comparing this to an ISIS video are way off base,” wrote Collin O’Nowlin. “ISIS videos have far greater production value.”

Still, some people liked the video.

“This is what I’m talking about and I am asking our Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly to adopt the same posture and send the same message to those poison pushing POS in our towns!!” wrote John Rif.

The video has more than 1 million views.

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