CINCINNATI – The Butler County Sheriff's Office in Ohio issued a statement Wednesday in response to what its leader called "lawlessness in the country over the last few months directed towards police."
"If you come to this county expecting a free pass to harm one of my men or women in uniform, keep in mind, nothing in life is free,” Sheriff Richard Jones said in a news release and on Facebook.
The statement referred to people dumping water on police in New York, bricks and frozen water bottles being thrown at police in Portland, Oregon, and people shooting at officers in Chicago.
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"You shoot at the police, expect us to shoot back," Jones said. "I will not allow my deputies or any law enforcement officer in Butler County to take the abuse I have seen over the past several months."
Jones posted the same information on the organization's Facebook page shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday. Nearly 3,000 people have shared the post, and more than 4,000 people have liked it .
Protests against police brutality and racial inequality have continued nationwide since George Floyd, a Black man, died on Memorial Day under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, who has since been fired and arrested. The killings of other Black people, such as Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, also led to protests.
Looting and violence have marred protests. In Chicago, more than 100 people were arrested in August after hundreds smashed windows, stole from stores and clashed with police.
Chicago Police Department Superintendent David Brown said shots were fired at officers who returned fire. Brown said the incident wasn't an organized protest but "pure criminality."
Unrest in Portland, Oregon, has also devolved into violence.
Contributing: Jordan Culver, N'dea Yancey-Bragg, USA TODAY
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Ohio sheriff responds to protest violence, saying officers may shoot