Volusia Sheriff Mike Chitwood this week was awarded the 'Guardian of Israel' honor for his recent opposition to neo-Nazi and anti-Semite groups in the area. Chitwood was given the award by a delegation of Israeli leaders in the community.
“It’s incredible to see our story here in Volusia County travel across the world and generate this kind of support and appreciation from Israel,” Sheriff Chitwood said of the award. “I’m beyond honored to accept this award and to keep spreading the message that hate and extremism have no place in our society.”
Ever since February, Chitwood has publicly opposed hate groups which have taken hold in Volusia County that have spread fear and misinformation about the Jewish community. His activism has led to several death threats on online forums, leading to three arrests and subsequent extraditions.
This year the Florida state legislature passed HB 269, a law giving law enforcement and prosecutors additional authority to resist hate groups. Chitwood has advocated for additional measures against the distribution of anti-Semitic reading material in residents' private property.
In addition to his statements condemning hate speech, Chitwood has also started a line of merchandise depicting him dunking neo-Nazis in a toilet, and the proceeds go to finding anti-hate education.