'You shoot at police, expect us to shoot back'
A sheriff in Ohio issued a defiant warning to protesters on Wednesday after he said cities around the country had descended into "lawlessness" in the wake of recent protests over the police treatment of Black Americans.
In a Facebook post, Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones warned that any protestors who took action against police officers would be met with force. The post cited instances of objects, including rocks and water, thrown at officers responding to protests that have in some cases devolved into violence.
"Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones states he has seen the lawlessness in the country over the last few months directed towards police. The Sheriff has seen water dumped on police in New York, bricks and frozen water bottles thrown at police as well as officers blinded by lasers in Portland, Oregon. In addition, Police have been shot at in Chicago and all across the country," read the Facebook post from the Butler County Sheriff's Office.
“I won’t tolerate it, period. You shoot at the police expect us to shoot back. I will not allow my deputies or any law enforcement officer in Butler County to take the abuse I have seen over the past several months. If you come to this county expecting a free pass to harm one of my men or women in uniform keep in mind, nothing in life is free,” added Jones in the post.
Police in many cities have faced criticism for their use of force in response to demonstrations, and many demonstrators and some members of the press have reported severe injuries as a result of police firing rubber bullets or using other nonlethal weaponry against demonstrators.
Jones previously made headlines in July when he vowed not to enforce a state mask order put in place by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R).
"I’m not going to be the mask police," he told CNN at the time.
"I’m telling people don’t call 911. All the police have been decimated as far as being laid off, having budgets cut ... and I am not going to enforce the mask wearing."
FBI agents arrested Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder at his rural farm. Householder was taken into custody in connection with a $60 million bribery scheme allegedly involving state officials and associates.