Michigan Sheriff, Who Shared Stage With Accused Domestic Terrorist, Facing Calls To Resign

Michigan Sheriff, Who Shared Stage With Accused Domestic Terrorist, Facing Calls To Resign

Topline

Local residents are calling for the immediate resignation of Dar Leaf, a sheriff from Barry County, Michigan, who said last week that he doesn’t have any regrets about sharing a stage with one of the suspects arrested for alleged involvement in a plot to kidnap Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, with Leaf defending members of the Michigan Liberty Militia by stating “perhaps they were just trying to arrest the governor and not kidnap her.”

US-CRIME-MICHIGAN-GOVERNOR-POLITICS

William Null (R) stands in the gallery of the Michigan Senate Chamber during the American Patriot … [+] Rally, organized by Michigan United for Liberty, to demand the reopening of businesses on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan, on April 30, 2020. Others are unidentified. – Thirteen men, including members of two right-wing militias, have been arrested for plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and “instigate a civil war”, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced on October 8, 2020. The Nulls were charged for their alleged roles in the plot to kidnap Whitmer, according to the FBI. The brothers are charged with providing support for terroristic acts and felony weapons charges. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)


AFP via Getty Images

Key Facts

A protest seeking Leaf’s resignation is planned for Tuesday in Hastings, Michigan, at the site of a regularly scheduled bi-monthly Barry County Board of Commissioners meeting.

According to MLive, the protest is being organized by Middleville resident Olivia Bennett who is calling for the commissioners to pass a resolution requesting Leaf’s resignation.

At a rally protesting Gov. Whitmer’s stay-at-home order back in May, Leaf stood alongside William Null, one of the first suspects to be arrested last Wednesday and charged with conspiring to kidnap the governor.

Following the arrest, Leaf, who is running for re-election unopposed this November, said in an interview with a local Fox News affiliate that Null was “always very nice and respectful” and later added, “I have a hard time swallowing this was a serious thing.”

“It’s just a charge, and they say a ‘plot to kidnap,’ and you got to remember that. Are they trying to kidnap? Because a lot of people are angry with the governor, and they want her arrested,” Leaf explained. “So are they trying to arrest or was it a kidnap attempt? Because you can still in Michigan, if it’s a felony, make a felony arrest.”

Dana Nessel, the state attorney general, subsequently tweeted: “Let me make this abundantly clear—Persons who are not sworn, licensed members of a law enforcement agency cannot and should not ‘arrest’ government (officials) with whom they have disagreements. These comments are dangerous.”

Key Background:

Bennett, who is transgender and is running for Barry County Commissioner under her previous name, Cody Hayes, said the protest she is organizing has nothing to do with her campaign. “We are not accusing him of having known about the kidnapping plot, and we are not accusing him of being a part of it at all,” Bennett said. “Some people in this county have tried to make the connection and have said we should investigate Dar for that, but that is not where I’m at or what I am suggesting at all. What I am suggesting is his actions and his words embolden people who would attempt to do such things.” According to MLive, there is nothing on the commission meeting agenda pertaining to Leaf or his association with members of the militia who were arrested.

Tangent:

At the May rally protesting stay-at-home orders, Leaf said the Gov. Whitmer’s quarantine measures were akin to the mass arrest of the state’s residents. He went on to call a local barber, who opened his shop despite the governor’s order, a “little version of Rosa Parks.”

Critical Quote: 

“I don’t want to paint Dar as a villain, I just think he has done and said things that make him unqualified for the position and that put the safety and well-being of Barry County at risk, and that’s why I’m calling for his resignation,” said Bennett. 

Further Reading:

Michigan Sheriff: Militia Suspects May Have Merely Been Attempting To ‘Arrest’ Whitmer (Forbes) 

Calls intensify for resignation of Michigan sheriff who shared stage with militia (MLive)

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