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State of emergency issued for part of Hendry County

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Posted at 6:00 PM, Jun 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-02 18:00:03-04

HENDRY COUNTY, FLA — The Hendry County Sheriff, Steve Whidden, has declared a state of emergency for the eastern part of the county. The declaration goes into effect at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 3 and runs until 5 a.m. on Thursday, June 4.

According to a press statement from the Hendry County sheriff's office, this decision came after posts began circulating on social media that there would be an organized protest at the local Walmart in Clewiston. That protest will reportedly start at 6 p.m. on June 3.

The sheriff's office claims that comments on those posts encouraged people to loot, riot and destroy property. He has said in a Facebook post that the Walmart, located at 1005 W Sugarland Hwy, will be closing early, at 5 p.m., as a precaution.

If you live in the eastern portion of Hendry county you're asked to stay indoors during that time, as movement will be restricted to "essential services and purposes."

Whidden has also released the following statement:

"What happened to mr. George floyd was uncalled for and the people responsible should pay for their despicable acts and I’m confident they will. However, it is a sad day when I am forced to take this drastic action to protect our citizens from the anarchy and lawlessness of a fringe population that wants to incite our neighbors to commit crimes and harm the people in their own communities. I will take whatever measures I feel are necessary and I encourage the citizens of Hendry county to be prepared to defend their property and families, should that need arise. I will always protect the right of the people to peaceably protest but when crimes occur, it is my duty to respond.”

He also addressed the issue in the following Facebook post: