HASTINGS, Mich. — Since President Joe Biden became President, a West Michigan sheriff has been promoting lessons to teach people how to stand up against tyranny.
Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf encouraged his Facebook followers to sign up for an online course that advertised lessons on how to end tyranny.
"We've already seen the tyranny that has been happening with government orders since the whole COVID-19 thing started. With Joe Biden as President, it's time for patriots to become educated on the constitution and their rights and begin standing up and taking action," Leaf wrote on his campaign Facebook page Jan 21.
The Constitutional Sheriff and Peace Officers Association advertised that the six-week online course that will teach people how to create a liberty movement in their own city. CSPOA is a political organization of local police officials in the United States who believe that federal and state government authorities are subordinate to local government authority.
Matt Saxton, executive director with the Michigan Sheriff's Association, said they don't endorse or condone the group offering the course.
Lane Crothers, an Illinois State political science professor, said the Constitutional Sheriff and Peace Officers Association argues local sheriffs have the right to not enforce laws based on their interpretation of the Constitution.
Crothers pointed to examples surrounding local sheriffs enforcement of gun laws and COVID-19 restrictions.
"It started in gun rights. It started in the belief that the federal government was going to take everyone's guns. Constitutional sheriffs have jumped on that bandwagon and says any such restriction or any such argument is an abuse of our liberty and the sheriff's have the right not enforce that," Crothers said.
Leaf has been a prominent supporter of the Constitutional Sheriff and Peace Officers Association. He appeared as a featured speaker at the group's 2019 annual conference.
Leaf declined requests for an interview Monday, Feb. 8, 2021.
He refused to enforce Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's COVID-19 executive orders during the pandemic.
At an anti-lockdown protest last summer, Leaf appeared on-stage with militia members charged in the alleged plot to kidnap Whitmer. He faced calls to resign after suggesting the men were trying to make a citizen's arrest.
"You are entitled to have beliefs in this society that other people find offensive. You are not entitled to be a position of authority to enforce those beliefs on people," Crothers said.
Olivia Bennett, chairperson of the Barry County Democratic Party Committee, said it was inappropriate Leaf offered the course. Bennett previously called for Leaf's resignation.
Editors note: Certain language has been updated to more accurately reflect our reporting