MONTICELLO, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - Jones County Sheriff Greg Graver is clarifying what happened in a perceived spat between law enforcement and Florida Georgia Line during The Great Jones County Fair in Monticello.
Graver says he attempted to contact the band ahead of Saturday's concert at the fair to discuss security. He says fair security notified him the band requested no uniformed law enforcement be present backstage.
"No reason was given and I felt I did not need one," Graver said in a statement. "The request for no uniformed presence behind stage is rare, but does happen. I don't have to but I generally honor their request."
During the show, Graver says the band requested twice to get a police escort off the fair grounds after the concert. Graver declined the requests.
"The decision to decline was mine and I do not regret making that decision," Graver said. "Although some feel that was not the right decision, I stand by it."
The Jones County concert followed a concert in Wisconsin where the band also denied backstage access to law enforcement, which has led many on social media to accuse the band of being anti-cop. Graver says he did not witness any ant-law enforcement rhetoric or actions from the band. Florida Georgia Line has since tweeted support for law enforcement and denied any anti-cop sentiments.
"To make the conclusion that F.G.L. is anti-law enforcement based off of what occurred at our county fair may not be accurate," Graver said.
Graver says a staff member for Florida Georgia Line has accused him of seeking national media attention and even threatened legal action for damage to the band's reputation. Graver says he never contacted media about the incident but was approached by national outlets.
"The only thing I will apologize for is for this distracting on what was a great Jones County Fair 2016," Graver said.