Sheriff Dar Leaf, in an interview with Fox 17 West Michigan, said that the militia may have been trying to make a citizen’s arrest of Whitmer for her COVID-19 lockdown policies, adding, “a lot of people are angry with the governor.”
Leaf also appeared onstage, speaking with William Null, one of the suspects who is now facing state terrorism charges, at a May anti-lockdown rally, and told the outlet he did not regret it.
Here’s what you need to know:
Leaf Said, ‘A Lot of People Are Angry With the Governor’ & the Militia Members May Have Been Trying to Effect a Citizen’s Arrest of Whitmer
Dar told Fox 17’s Aaron Parseghian that he was “shocked” to see the charges against the Wolverine Watchmen, some of whom he personally knows, and has shared a stage with during spring protests against Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders in the state.
“I did not see this coming from those guys, but still, we can’t convict them in the news media here,” Leaf said. “They have a right to a fair trial.”
Then, Leaf appeared to defend the militia, suggesting what they were planning could have been a lawful citizen’s arrest.
“It’s just a charge, and they say a plot to kidnap, but you have to remember that, are they trying to kidnap?” Leaf said. “Cause a lot of people are angry with the governor and they want her arrested. So, are they trying to arrest or was it a kidnap attempt? Because you still can, in Michigan, if it’s a felony, make a felony arrest.”
Leaf went on to cite a part of Michigan’s criminal code that he claimed may allow for citizens to arrest the governor.
“I think it’s MCO 764.4 or something like that, .5, somewhere around there,” Leaf said. “It doesn’t say if you’re in elected office you’re exempt from that arrest. So, I have to look at it from that angle and I’m hoping that’s more what it is.”
Under Michigan Criminal Code 764.16, a “private citizen” can make an arrest if a felony is committed in their presence or if the person being arrested has committed a felony elsewhere. Also, they can be involved if law enforcement asks them to assist an officer making an arrest.
It was unclear what felony Leaf was suggesting Whitmer may have committed.
Heavy left a message for Leaf requesting further comment but did not immediately receive a response.
Leaf Attended an American Patriot Rally in May, Where He Shared a Stage With Null & Praised the Militia Members, Saying ‘Hillary Clinton Has Killed More People Than Them’
On May 18, Leaf was a featured speaker at an anti-lockdown protest at Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he railed against Whitmer’s stay-at-home order and praised militia members — including William Null — who joined him on the stage.
You can watch Leaf’s remarks in full here. In the video, Null can be seen standing to Leaf’s right, holding a rifle.
Leaf compared barbers who defied state lockdown orders to Rosa Parks in his speech, made jokes about rectal thermometers and claimed that Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders amounted to arresting citizens.
“It’s basically taking away your free will, your right to move about. It’s an arrest,” he said. “When you’re ordered to your home, are you under arrest? Yeah, by definition you are.”
Leaf later invited members of a militia, Null included, to step forward for recognition on the stage. “A well-regulated [militia] at that,” Leaf said, to cheers. “Look at these beautiful men up here.”
“This is our last home defense here, ladies and gentlemen,” he continued, claiming that state militias have the power of “common law grand juries” and juries. “The two functions the governor doesn’t want you to know,” he added.
“I want you to remember that the next time Hillary Clinton calls these guys domestic terrorists,” he said. “She’s killed more people than they have.”
Leaf did not return Heavy’s phone message seeking comment. His Twitter account was also locked as of Friday afternoon.