Barry Co. prosecutor condemns local sheriff’s remarks on terrorist plot

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives a COVID-19 update at the state Capitol, March 30, 2020 | Gov. Whitmer photo

    The chief law enforcement officer of Barry County is hitting back at remarks made by the county’s local sheriff, Dar Leaf, who appeared to defend the anti-government extremists who planned the now-foiled kidnapping and murder plot against state officials and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

    “His statement should in no way be taken to represent the position of this office or the many selfless, hard-working members of the Barry County law enforcement community,” Barry County Prosecutor Julie Nakfoor Pratt said in a statement Wednesday.

    Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf

    Leaf, who previously shared a stage with one of the alleged terrorists, had told the media recently that he “did not see that coming for those guys” and insinuated that the plotters may have just been planning a citizens’ felony arrest of Whitmer.

    Leaf has also stated that he will not resign despite calls for him to do so.

    “You’ve gotta remember, are they trying to kidnap? ‘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? ‘Cause you can still, in Michigan, if it’s a felony, you can make a felony arrest,” Leaf had told FOX-17 TV.

    He incorrectly cited Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL) 764.4 and 764.5 as the bases for his reasoning. Neither section of Michigan’s Code of Criminal Procedure allows Michiganders to make a citizen’s felony arrest.

    On Wednesday, Pratt wrote that Leaf is “not a lawyer, nor is he licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan, yet he inaccurately cited a law that is inapplicable and is meant to aid the very citizens and law enforcement he is sworn to protect.

    “As a prosecutor, I find this concerning. There is no logical, legal or ethical basis for statements that defend or condone behavior that threatens the safety of Governor Whitmer, fellow law enforcement, or any other citizen in this country,” Pratt said.

    She added that Leaf’s remarks “are his own,” and “should not tarnish the honor and respect for law enforcement in Barry County and throughout the country.”

    Laina G. Stebbins
    Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, immigration and criminal justice. She is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or listening to podcasts, she loves art and design, discovering new music, being out in nature and spending time with her two cats Rainn and Remy.