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Barry County prosecutor says Sheriff Dar Leaf 'is not a lawyer'

Posted at 11:22 AM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-13 11:22:31-04

BARRY COUNTY, Mich. — Barry County Prosecutor Julie Nakfoor Pratt has released a statement regarding Sheriff Dar Leaf.

Leaf has been at the center of controversy for recent comments made about suspects in the alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

RELATED: Shouting match breaks out ahead of Barry County meeting discussing Sheriff's comments on kidnapping suspects

Pratt's full statement reads:

On behalf of the Barry County Prosecutor’s Office, we want to express our deepest sympathy for the public officials and their families, as well as the law enforcement officers affected by the alleged plot to kidnap and harm them. We are grateful to the US Attorney’s Office, Attorney General Dana Nessel, the FBI and Michigan State Police for their coordinated efforts to the keep the Governor, her family, the legislators, the staff of the Capitol, and fellow law enforcement safe. We commend officers for their thorough investigation. The message should be loud and clear: there is no place for crimes of violence in our society. This case is ongoing by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and the US Attorney’s Office, and all defendants are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

As the chief law enforcement officer for Barry County, I must address the recent statement made by Sheriff Dar Leaf regarding citizen arrests. 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. Sheriff 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.

In Barry County, we have dedicated, fair and honest law enforcement officers in every department. Sheriff Leaf’s statements are his own. They do not and should not tarnish the honor and respect for law enforcement in Barry County and throughout the country. We as leaders should set an example for those that look to us for guidance, strength and hope. I ask for patience with the justice system, support for those whose lives were placed in danger, and that we continue to look out for one another.

Respectfully submitted:
Julie Nakfoor Pratt
Barry County Prosecutor