Greg Pound has spent the better part of the past 10 years fighting for the rights of the common man.
Following an incident in 2004 where his children were taken from him after his sister’s dog bit his infant daughter, Pound has staged numerous rallies, protests and even spent time in jail, all in the name of free speech and the elimination of corruption in government.
After an unsuccessful campaign to run for Pinellas County sheriff in 2008 and a delay in joining the current election, Pound has jumped back into the 2012 race for sheriff based on his belief that the other candidates — Everett Rice, Scott Swope and interim sheriff Bob Gualtieri — are violating a basic article of the U.S. Constitution.
“Article II, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution states, ‘No person belonging to one branch shall exercise any power appertaining to either of the two other branches’,” Pound explains.
“These guys are illegally running for sheriff,” he says of his three opponents, all of whom are current or former lawyers, which Pound says in direct violation of Article II, Section 3.
“The Constitution is a contract. We need people in office who are going to uphold that contract,” he says.
Protecting the Rights of the People
Pound does not want people to think he is running for sheriff only because of what happened to his family. “I’ve always studied law and the Constitution,” the former landscaper says.
But there is no doubt that the fact that he had his children taken from him (they were later awarded to their maternal grandmother), forcing his wife, Melissa, to flee the state following the birth of their fifth child, has fueled his desire to expose what he believes is corruption in the system.
“We have a big moral problem in the sheriff’s department,” Pound says. “They have to keep the machine moving, keep arresting people and handing out tickets, even if they didn’t do anything wrong, because they have agendas, they have quotas" to fill.
“We have to get back to protecting the rights of the people," he says. "Anyone in civil service is serving the people, and they have to understand the law. The main thing I want to do is defend human rights.”
Pound promises to eliminate quotas and other symbols of a system built around making money, such as red light cameras, and get the office back to a time when everyday people were equal to the officers who served them.
“My opponents see themselves as part of the elite, better than everyone else," he says. "You have to respect everyone, whether they are a janitor or a cop.”
'Absolute Power Is Absolute Corruption'
Corruption plays a big part in what motivates Pound.
He once spent 36 days in Pinellas County Jail as a result of what he believes was an effort to keep him from appearing at a court hearing in Tallahassee, and he has been arrested numerous times while standing up for issues he feels passionate about.
Pound was even locked up and sent for psychiatric evaluation after being arrested on trespassing charges at a convention watch party for Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young in September 2008, according to an article in the Tampa Bay Times.
All of these incidents point to one thing, in Pound’s mind: corruption running rampant in government.
“At every layer of government, we have corruption going on,” he says. “Absolute power is absolute corruption.”
“We elect people to protect our interest as a nation, but they’re not there to protect our trust; they’re there to lie and take our money,” he says.
In order to eliminate some of this corruption, Pound believes there needs to be more accountability by the people in power.
“We’re getting away from accountability," he says. "People need to be accountable. When we elect a sheriff, who is he going to be accountable to?”
The Right to Run
Despite his lack of a law enforcement background, Pound, a 56-year-old Michigan native who has lived here for 30 years, believes he has just as much right to run for sheriff as any of his opponents do.
In fact, he thinks it’s important for an outsider such as himself to win the election in order to begin the process of re-educating people on the basic principles of the law.
“It’s my right to run for office," he says. "We need to get people in office who want to represent the people.”
“The law is not complicated. They’ve made it complicated so no one can understand it," he says. "We need to re-educate people because the ignorance is killing them.”
Pound feels that his history is not a detriment to his potential election, but actually the reason he is in the position he is in today.
“What happened to me is destiny," he says. "We don’t get motivated until it touches us."