Editorial: Police departments are starting to ignore power hungry governors’ overreach

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As “America Held Hostage-Chinese Coronavirus” enters it’s 6th week, police administrators across the country are starting to take a stand against power-hungry politicians who are trying to use law enforcement agencies as some kind of quasi-Gestapo.

While some chiefs are buying into the new police state, such as the one in Westport, CT., who had officers flying “pandemic drones” to conduct surveillance on residents, other police officers and administrators are starting to take a stand.

It should be noted that after a public outcry, the Westport PD has ceased the drone flyover program. 

On Wednesday, the Houston Police Officers’ Union gave notice that their officers would not enforce the ruling of a local county judge, Lina Hidalgo which made it mandatory for any individual over the age of 10 wear a mask.

“The Houston Police Officers’ Union believes everyone should be wearing a mask in public, in order to protect themselves from the virus and we are encouraging all our officers to wear a mask,” the union said in a statement.

“However, we draw the line at the draconian measures Hidalgo has decided to engage in.”

“Our officers work every single day to bridge the gap with our community and earn their trust, we will not stand idly by and allow Hidalgo to tear that bridge down, with her horrific leadership and echo chamber decision making.”

The police union in fact questioned whether Hidalgo’s ruling was constitutional, having contacted the state attorney general’s office for a determination.

The union noted that until Hidalgo made the rulings, officers had discretion in the enforcement of the mask in public order since the department’s ranks were strained due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile in Washington State, our new favorite, Sheriff Adam Fortney of Snohomish County said on Tuesday that his officers would also abstain from enforcing lockdown orders, joining the sheriff of Franklin County, J.D.

Raymond who said that he would not prohibit churches and businesses from open so long as reasonable social distance policies were in place.

In a Facebook post, Fortney said:

“As I have previously stated, I have not carried out any enforcement for the current stay-at-home order. I will always put your constitutional rights above politics or popular opinion. We have the right to peacefully assemble.

We have the right to keep and bear arms. We have the right to attend church service of any denomination.”

 

Fortney has said that the lockdown orders imposed by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee are inconsistent, where he subjectively deemed certain businesses as essential while dismissing others as not.

For example, Inslee said that state or government construction projects were “essential,” private contractors are not permitted to work.

Fortney noted that when he shows up for work, he sees “landscapers show up each day to install new landscape and maintain our flowerbeds.” He then noted that “a father who owns a construction company and works alone while outdoors is not allowed to run his business to make a living to provide for his wife and children?”

“This contradiction is not okay and is bordering on unethical,” said Fortney.

In the case of Franklin County, Sheriff J.D. Raymond noted in a letter that while he believes the current outbreak is a real concern and that he believes maintaining social distancing is important, he remains concerned about the constitutional rights of his constituents, as well as the governor’s over reach in trying to regulate the populace.

 

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Raymond says that he believes in an individual’s right to worship, and his belief that the stay-at-home order is depriving citizens of their right to earn and live.

He said:

“This intrudes on our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; and neither I nor my office will enforce any arrests or fines regarding the operation of privately owned businesses.”

He concludes the letter by stating his belief that Gov. Inslee has overstepped his constitutional authority.

Meanwhile in Michigan, home of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the poster child of a governor on a pure unadulterated power trip, four sheriffs in the northwest part of the state said last week that they would not be enforcing Whitmer’s lockdown orders, the most extreme in the country.

Whitmer you may recall has deemed it illegal for people who live in the state to travel between their primary home and say a vacation home. However, she put no such restrictions on out-of-state residents traveling to vacation homes in the state. That is what you call stone-cold consistency right there.

She also restricted the purchase of items such as garden seeds, while deemed lottery tickets, booze, and marijuana essential items. Probably one of her most amazing edicts has been the restricting the crossing the street to go to a neighbor’s house, unless for specific exceptions. Can you say power trip?

The sheriffs said in a statement that Whitmer “has created a vague framework of emergency laws that only confuse Michigan citizens.” Whitmer was probably looking for national attention to establish her credentials as a possible vice-presidential candidate for old Sleepy Joe Biden.

“As a result, we will not have strict enforcement of these orders,” the sheriffs wrote. “We will deal with every case as an individual situation and apply common sense in assessing the apparent violation…We believe that we are the last line of defense in protecting your civil liberties.”

Along with the sheriffs, some lawmakers have also stepped up to criticize Whitmer. In a joint letter sent by four Republican legislators, they said:

“Your latest order is far too restrictive and includes provisions that seem arbitrary and internally inconsistent…We believe there is a better approach.”

Whitmer has been the subject of a recall petition, which has over 312,600 signatures as of this writing. 

Since the pandemic started ramping up and governors discovered their new found power, over 26 million Americans have now filed jobless claims, with an additional 4.4 million filing this past week.

As the shelter-in-place orders have continued, frustrated Americans anxious to get back to work have started protests against the orders on a nationwide basis, from Connecticut to North Carolina, Michigan out to Colorado.

Some states have started preparing at least for partial re-openings of selected businesses and locations in their states, including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Texas.

Of course, the governors of these states have been widely criticized, primarily by Democrats who likely want everything to stay closed through the November elections because…politics.


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