Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County, Florida, threatened to lock up Apple CEO Tim Cook if he ever denies his request to unlock a cell phone.
“The first time we do have trouble getting into a cell phone, we’re going to seek a court order from Apple, and when they deny us, I’m going to go lock the CEO of Apple up,” Judd said at a March 9 press conference. “I’ll lock the rascal up. That’s a guarantee.”
Judd added that a company, such as Apple, cannot create a business model that defies state and federal courts with the idea that they are “above the law.”
“The CEO of Apple needs to know he’s not above the law, and neither is anybody else in the United States,” Judd said.
Judd is clearly referring to the request by the FBI made to Apple to decrypt the iPhone belonging to the San Bernardino shooter who is suspected of having ties to radical Islamic terrorist groups.
Apple denied the FBI’s request, stating it would start a “dangerous precedent,” one that would lead to a loss of security for all customers. Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an open letter on the company's website defending its decision:
The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand ... We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good. Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.
Judd’s press conference was in response to the apprehension of a Lakewood family who allegedly beat a man to death as revenge for a rape they believe he committed.
Brian Johnson Sr., Brian Johnson Jr., Anthony Johnson, Nathan Johnson and family friend Michael Gunn were arrested on March 9 in connection with the January murder of Robert Banks, The Ledger reports.
On Jan. 15, Banks’ body was found badly burned wrapped in a floral blanket on a wildlife trail.
The investigation into the Johnson family began when police were told they were showing off pictures of Banks and telling people he was dead.
“They kicked him; they strangled him with an electrical cord; they beat him with a pipe; they beat him with their fists; they beat him with sticks,” Judd said. “Nathan sodomized him with a flashlight asking 'How does that feel? How do you like it?'”
The photos of Banks were on the Johnson family's locked cell phones, none of which were iPhones, Daily Mail reports. The men provided their passwords to authorities.