This call to commit to a law enforcement culture free of white supremacist ideology was sent to both Greg Hall and Tom Bensley by Northern Michigan for Accountable Government on October 12, 2020.

To the candidates for Grand Traverse County Sheriff, Tom Bensley and Greg Hall:

News reports emerged Friday, 10/9, that showed Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf appearing publicly with William Null, the white supremacist ringleader of the Whitmer kidnapping plot. 

Sheriff Leaf, in response to the footage, denied having any regrets about sharing a stage and urged the public to not rush to conclusions.  He also suggested that more information was needed to ascertain whether the group planned to kidnap Governor Whitmer or perform a citizen’s arrest. In a MLive piece, Leaf stated: “I’m not trying to sympathize with guys but we don’t know all the facts…. I have a hard time swallowing this was a serious thing.”  He further questioned the gravity by surmising “the plot couldn’t have been fully thought out.”  

We take seriously the actions of known militia training with firearms and explosives. We take seriously the framing of terrorists as “nice” and “respectful.”  And let’s be clear- a violent plan that is “not fully thought out” is still a violent plan.  It is absolutely unacceptable to minimize the severity of a planned militia-led kidnapping.  It is abhorrent to suggest that extra-judicial actions, like “arresting” a sitting governor, are understandable or justified if we perceive the loss of (our) individual freedoms.  

Northern Michigan for Accountable Government is calling on our two sheriff candidates to unequivocally and publicly reject Sheriff Leaf’s statements and commit to a law enforcement culture free of white supremacist ideology.