A tough-talking Florida sheriff’s blunt new video aimed at heroin dealers is causing a stir for its aggressive imagery and militant optics.
“I have a message for you,” Lake County Sheriff Peyton Grinnell warns in the video, which has gone viral since it was posted to the department’s Facebook page on Friday. “We are coming for you.”
Some internet commenters have compared footage from the sheriff’s video ― which shows him flanked by heavily armed officers in ski masks ― to videos made by ISIS operatives, which also often feature armed men wearing ski masks.
According to The Miami New Times, Grinnell’s office said the men in the video are undercover cops and that they are wearing masks to protect their identities.
The sheriff’s threats could also be seen in the same vein as those that appeared in a 2015 video featuring Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.), who referred to a group of predominantly black gang members as “animals.”
“You will be hunted. You will be tracked. And if you raise your weapon to a man like me, we’ll return fire with superior power,” an armed Higgins said in the video while surrounded by several dozen law enforcement officials.
At the time, Higgins was captain of the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana. He later resigned.
Grinnell’s roughly 90-second video doesn’t go quite that far, but he does offer some menacing possibilities: “Enjoy looking over your shoulder, constantly wondering if today’s the day we come for you. Enjoy trying to sleep tonight, wondering if tonight’s the night our SWAT team blows your front door off the hinges.”
He also warns that undercover agents have already purchased drugs from several area dealers and that the department is pursuing arrest warrants.
The Orlando Sentinel reports there have been 24 opioid-related overdoses in Lake County since October. Four of them were fatal. The Sentinel also cites figures by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement claiming heroin fatalities increased 279 percent from 2013 to 2015.
Grinnell ends the video with a warning for heroin dealers: “We are coming for you. Run.”