State Watch

Michigan sheriff says he won’t enforce Whitmer’s stay-at-home order

A county sheriff in Michigan said Monday that his office will not enforce Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) stay-at-home order intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which data shows has resulted in more than 47,000 cases in the state and more than 4,500 deaths.

Shiawassee County Sheriff Brian BeGole said in a written statement that he decided to share his office’s position on the governor’s executive orders after receiving “many calls” from local residents and businesses on the matter and “especially since the Michigan Legislature did not extend the state of emergency beyond April 30 as required by law.” 

“The legality of that is a judicial branch determination,” BeGole said, noting his office’s “responsibility to serve and protect the citizens of Shiawassee County and to ensure their rights as described in both state and federal Constitution.”

“With limited resources, staffing and facilities, our priority focus will be on enforcing duly passed laws for the protection of Shiawassee County citizens,” he added. “I have decided, within my authority, that our office cannot and will not divert our primary resources and efforts towards enforcement of the Governor Whitmer’s executive orders.”

The move comes about a week after two county sheriffs in Arizona said they would not enforce Gov. Doug Ducey’s (R-Ariz.) stay-at-home order, citing the Constitution, and days after a California sheriff said he would not enforce similar coronavirus measures in the state because it was “time to get back opening up.” 

Though the stay-at-home order in Michigan had previously been scheduled to end later this week, Whitmer extended it last week through late May in a bid to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The directive extended the stay-at-home order until May 28 but also eased restrictions placed on certain businesses.

“This is good news for our state, our businesses, and our working families,” she said at the time. “We’re not out of the woods yet, but this is an important step forward on our MI Safe Start plan to re-engage our economy safely and responsibly.”

Whitmer’s extension came a day after Republicans brought a lawsuit against her for extending Michigan’s state of emergency, which they argued cannot happen without approval from the state legislature.  

Tags Coronavirus Gretchen Whitmer Michigan Social distancing stay-at-home orders

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