Liberty County sheriff Finch speaks out for the first time

Nick Finch
Posted at 6:20 PM, Jun 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-07 03:20:26-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--Supporters stood on the steps of the Old Capitol to support Liberty County sheriff Nick Finch Friday.

"He was trying to change things and solve those problems and got elected to fix those problems," said one man from the rally.

 Finch is now off the job charged with a third degree felony.

Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement say in March when one of Finch's deputies arrested a man for carrying a concealed weapon. The sheriff allegedly let the man go...and destroyed all related jail documents - making it appear as though an arrest never happened.

"I have no idea why they were brought against me, all i can tell you is I was upholding my oath that I made to the citizens of Liberty County," said Sheriff Finch.

He's speaking out for the first time since his arrest. The sheriff says he was only upholding his oath of office and protecting a citizen's second amendment rights.

For that reason, the sheriff has been garnering a lot of support. In fact, he's received more than 4,000 clicks on a supporting Facebook page and according to a spokeswoman with the governor's office, they've gotten more than 1300 letters demanding the sheriff be reinstated.

Supporters of finch say the governor was invited to speak during the rally, just steps away from his office but he was unavailable to comment.

"I hope the governor and FDLE will look at that investigation and determine that they've made a terrible mistake," said Henry McKinney.

McKinney says he's known finch for years and he's encouraging Finch to stay strong.

"Not to back down, and I know he won't," said McKinney.

For now the governor has appointed an interim sheriff to run the liberty county sheriff's office.

"I believe in the end that I did what I felt was right based on the second amendment i believe that's what will happen and that's what will be proved and i will be put back in office," said Finch.

 The Governor's office released this statement to WTXL:

"Any time an elected, local, public official is charged with a felony, the Governor suspends the official until the case is concluded. This safeguard is in place to ensure Floridians are best served in their communities," said John Tupps.