Several blogs have published a story that accuses Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw of telling Boynton Beach residents they should run over protesters who are blocking roadways if they feel their life might be threatened. But PBSO forcefully denied Bradshaw made the over-the-top comments. In fact, he didn't even attend the meeting where the blogs say he made the comments.
The accusation came from a site called CounterCurrent News, a blog that often plagiarizes stories and cuts and paste quotes without attribution. The story was shared on other several other news sites.
In the story, Bradshaw is said to have attended a Coalition of Boynton West Residential Associations meeting on January 14. While there, the story says, he told residents they should be wary of "violent thug" protesters:
"With our limited budget, we just don't have the manpower to be policing the community like we should be. You should be very concerned if you come across these protesters because they are very violent thugs and have even killed white people with hammers in other parts of the country. Now they are blocking the roads with their arms in barrels and we just don't know what those barrels contain. For all we know, they could contain weapons to use when unsuspecting drivers get close. If you see these people, stop your vehicle as far as possible and back away before they can attack."
The story, which doesn't indicate if the reporter was at the meeting, goes on to accuse Bradshaw of giving an elderly woman some advice on how to handle herself if she comes in contact with any of these protesters:
"Your safety is far more valuable than those violent thugs illegally blocking the roadways. If you see the protesters, and you can't back up, stopping will make you an easy target for violence, robbery or murder. If you are driving on a Florida roadway, it is up to them to move, so sit as low as possible in your car and accelerate forward. If you run over protesters, remember that your safety comes first and they shouldn't have been there in the first place. Whatever you do, I can't emphasize enough how important enough it is not to stop and if they are injured, they brought it upon themselves."
These are some pretty wild remarks, even coming from a sheriff as controversial as Bradshaw. They're even stranger considering Boynton Beach hasn't exactly been a hotbed of protests since anti-police brutality demonstrations began taking place last August.
And PBSO spokesperson Teri Barbera says they're all lies.
"The quotes attributed to Sheriff Bradshaw are fabricated and totally false," Barbera wrote in an email. "The Sheriff was not even in attendance at this meeting."
A spokesperson for COBWRA backed that up, saying that Bradshaw was not in attendance for the January 14 meeting.
We reached out to CounterCurrent News for comment but have not heard back.
So far, it looks like this stuff is too crazy even for Bradshaw to say.