One day after Joe Biden was inaugurated, Sheriff Dar Leaf advertised lessons on how to stand against the “tyranny” represented by the new president.
“We’ve already seen the tyranny that has been happening with government orders since the whole COVID-19 thing started,” read the post shared on Leaf’s Facebook page. “With Joe Biden as president, it won’t get better unless we the people do something about it. It’s time for all patriots to become educated on the Constitution and their rights and begin standing up and taking action, now more than ever before.”
The six-week online course is a product sold by the Constitutional Sheriff and Peace Officers Association, an activist organization that claims county sheriffs hold power that can’t be challenged by any government official, even the president. The CSPOA has close ties to far-right groups that stormed the U.S. Capitol and a network of activists spreading misinformation about the coronavirus and presidential election.
The CSPOA, a national group, argues that sheriffs have the right to enforce laws as they interpret the Constitution, usually in the form of gun-control laws and COVID restrictions.
They welcome new members, and encourage sheriffs to take their teachings back home to citizens and staff, often including conspiracy theories.
A CSPOA Conference in September 2020 emphasized constitutional theory blended with religious doctrine. Speakers stood in front of a large painting of Jesus and addressed a maskless crowd, talking about enforcing selective laws and opposing “activist” judges whom they disagree with.
“The courts don’t make law, there are three branches of government,” Leaf said. “Did you know that’s biblical too? Yes, God divided up powers. So it’s not something that we started, God started it.”
The Michigan Sheriff’s Association does not condone nor associate with the group.
Sheriff Leaf appeared onstage in May 2020 with militia members who were accused of plotting to kidnap and kill Governor Gretchen Whitmer. He later was one of eight plaintiffs who claimed massive election fraud in the state, claiming ballots were invalidated because they were marked with Sharpie pens, as well as vague claims about Dominion voting machines.
Leaf ran unopposed in November and was re-elected with the support of over 25,000 Barry County voters.
See the complete story at MLive.