Michigan locals are calling for Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf’s resignation after it emerged he shared a stage at a rally with members of the Michigan Liberty Militia group—one of whom was recently arrested for allegedly plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
William “Bill” Null, the man on stage with Leaf at an open carry militia rally in May, was arrested in early October in connection with an alleged plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
A protest of around 160 attendees is planned for tomorrow, in Hastings, to urge Sheriff Leaf to be removed from his post.
Olivia Bennett, who is running for Barry County Commissioner, is the event’s organizer.
“We are not accusing [Sheriff Leaf] of having known about the kidnapping plot and we are not accusing him of being a part of it at all,” Bennett told MLive.
“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.”
Sheriff Leaf has allegedly refused to enforce the governor’s stay-at-home orders. He recently commented on the arrests in relation to the kidnapping plot involving Gov. Whitmer. “I was shocked, did not see this coming with those guys,” he said to Fox17 “but still we can’t convict them in the media here, they do have a right to a fair trial.”
Sheriff Leaf suggested that perhaps the men involved were planning on arresting the governor, rather than kidnapping her. “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?”
The Sheriff continued in the interview: “In fact, these guys are innocent till proven guilty so I’m not even sure if they had any part of it.”
Newsweek has contacted Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf for comment on tomorrow’s protest.
William Null and his brother Michael Null are both facing a 20-year prison sentence on terrorism charges, relating to an alleged plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer from the Michigan state capitol building. Thirteen people have been charged in relation to the plot against the governor. The Nulls are being held on $250,000 bond.
State and federal officials claim members of the group were planning the alleged kidnap for months, and twice conducted surveillance at Gov. Whitmer’s private holiday home in the north of the state. They allegedly spoke about abducting her to stand “trial” for treason. The alleged kidnapping plan was in reaction to what they perceived as her “uncontrolled power.” Those involved had planned “various acts of violence,” according to state police, reported AP.
The pair accused also face a two-year prison sentence for reportedly carrying a firearm while committing a felony.
Andrew Birge, U.S. attorney in western Michigan, dubbed the men charged as “violent extremists.” The men allegedly spoke about detonating explosive devices during the kidnapping.
“All of us in Michigan can disagree about politics, but those disagreements should never, ever amount to violence. Violence has been prevented today,” Detroit U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider told reporters.