In the United States, nearly seventy officers authorize businesses to reopen despite the security rules put in place by their states.
During a demonstration in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Barry County Sheriff explained to the crowd of 300 people (many of them armed) that the containment measures taken by Governor Gretchen Whitmer were a form of mass arrest: “When you are told to stay at home, are you under arrest?” Yes, by definition. ” He then described a hairdresser who had reopened as “a small version of Rosa Parks”, with reference to theafrican american activist.
In a dozen American states, nearly seventy sheriffs (a statement made by the Marshall Project website) have announced that they will refuse to enforce their state’s rules for business closures and the wearing of masks. For example, sheriffs from Arizona, Wisconsin, Washington State and California have declared that establishments in their counties would be allowed to reopen despite efforts by authorities to limit the spread of Covid-19.
Although the law requires them to follow these measures, sheriffs like to repeat that containment measures are unconstitutional:
“Along with other elected sheriffs in our state, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office will not enforce a decree contrary to freedom of religion and constitutional rights”, announced Sheriff Adam Fortney on Facebook.
Likewise, a sheriff of north carolina said he would not give fines to people who gather more than ten in churches. According to the governor’s regulations, religious services must take place outside if more than ten worshipers attend.
“As long as I am a sheriff, my assistants and I will not prevent people from meeting up in church to exercise their constitutional right to practice their religion freely,” wrote Steve Bizzell.
Since sheriffs are elected officials, this public opposition to containment measures is a good way for them to make themselves known and increase their popularity in Republican counties. Some are even invited on the Fox News channel, where their distrust of the authorities is celebrated as a form of heroism.