Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes has became the latest law enforcement head in California to declare that his officers will not be enforcing COVID restrictions.
As the entire state was plunged into what is effectively a complete lockdown over the weekend, Barnes tweeted that he will not send deputies to any calls about “compliance with face coverings, social gatherings or stay-at-home orders.”
“Compliance with health orders is a matter of personal responsibility and not a matter of law enforcement,” Barnes asserted in a statement.
“To put the onus on law enforcement to enforce these orders against law-abiding citizens who are already struggling through difficult circumstances, while at the same time criticizing law enforcement and taking away tools to do our jobs, is both contradictory and disingenuous,” Barnes urged in a clear shot at Governor Gavin Newsom.
Newsom issued a quarantine order which will affect approximately 85% of the state’s population of 40 million people.
The lockdown will remain in place for at least three weeks over the holidays, seeing the closure of businesses including bars, hair salons and indoor restaurants. People will be prevented from meeting with anyone outside their household.
Thus far, Sheriffs at Riverside County, Los Angeles County and San Bernardino County have all announced that they will not be enforcing the restrictions.
On Friday, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco slammed Newsom’s “dictatorial attitude toward California residents while dining in luxury, traveling, keeping his business open and sending his kids to in-person private schools,” labelling Newsom “extremely hypocritical.”
“These closures and stay-at-home orders are flat-out ridiculous,” Bianco declared, adding “The metrics used for closure are unbelievably faulty and are not representative of true numbers and are disastrous for Riverside County.”
Bianco noted that “Newsom is expecting us to arrest anyone violating these orders, cite them and take their money, close their businesses, make them stay in their homes, and take away their civil liberties or he will punish all of us.”
“While the governor’s office and the state has threatened action against violators, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department will not be blackmailed, bullied or used as muscle against Riverside County residents in the enforcement of the governor’s orders,” Bianco continued.