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All county sheriffs in L.A. area refuse to enforce Gov. Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus curfew

Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) has instituted a new near-statewide curfew in California due to the pandemic. In response, every county sheriff in the Los Angeles area has refused to enforce the mandate. They say they will not criminalize Californian citizens.

Some city sheriffs are agreeing to enforce the curfew, but there are a number of those as well who say they won’t.

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes released a statement that said his officers would emphasize an “education-first approach” but would not respond to calls only related to coronavirus enforcement:

“Earlier today, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department became aware of a limited Stay at Home Order that Governor Newsom’s office ordered to go into effect on Saturday, November 21 at 10 PM.”

“Throughout the pandemic, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department has taken an education-first approach with regard to the public health orders.”

“We are currently assessing the action by the Governor.”

“At this time, due to the need to have deputies available or emergency calls for service, deputies will not be responding to requests for face-coverings or social gatherings-only enforcement.”

After announcing Orange County would not be enforcing the stay-at-home order, Sheriff Don Barnes said Friday the order is “a matter of personal responsibility and not a matter of law enforcement,” echoing the statements of several other county sheriffs across Southern California.

In a statement, Barnes said: “The Governor’s latest health orders have created a significant amount of uncertainty in the community regarding the feasibility and constitutionality of enforcing modified stay-at-home orders.

“Let me be clear – this is a matter of personal responsibility and not a matter of law enforcement. Orange County Sheriff’s deputies will not be dispatched to, or respond to, calls for service to enforce compliance with face coverings, social gatherings, or stay-at-home orders only. Deputies will respond to calls for potential criminal behavior and for the protection of life or property.”

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said she refused to “make criminals out of normally law-abiding citizens.”

“We are not going to make criminals out of normally law-abiding citizens,” Mims stated on Thursday. “We’ve got a lot of things to do including taking guns away from gang members, stopping narcotic trafficking, and saving children from Internet predators.”

Other local sheriffs in Merced and King’s counties, as well as Madera and Visalia, say they won’t enforce the curfew. They join sheriffs in Northern California’s Sacramento and El Dorado counties who have said the same thing.

Sheriffs around the country have refused to enforce coronavirus mandates, including in Skamania, Washington, and Linn County, Oregon.

In Michigan, some officials belonging to the “constitutional sheriffs” movement have taken things one step further, asserting that they have the final word on interpreting the constitution in their counties, refusing to enforce coronavirus rules.

Reporter Bill Melugin of Fox’s Los Angeles affiliate, KTTV-11, tweeted Friday:

Here are 13 police departments and sheriff’s offices in California who are refusing to enforce the curfew:

  • Sacramento Sheriff’s Office
  • Sacramento Police Department
  • Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office
  • Stockton Police Department
  • Ceres Police Department
  • Placer County Sheriff’s Office
  • Sutter County Sheriff Office
  • Butte County Sheriff’s Office
  • Dixon Police Department
  • Roseville Police Department
  • El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office
  • Solano County Sheriff’s Office
  • Folsom Police Department

This is not a complete list of law enforcement refusing to comply in California and the list is growing by the hour.

Governor Newsom announced the curfew on Thursday. He had indicated earlier in the week that he was studying curfews in other states and countries, including Saudi Arabia.

The curfew will begin on Saturday, November 21, at 10:00 PM, and will run from 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM for a month. It will apply to “purple” tier counties, which include nearly the entire state of California, and is an alleged attempt to contain the coronavirus surge in that state.

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