Two Arizona sheriffs are refusing to enforce Gov. Doug Ducey’s (R-Ariz) stay-at-home order, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Hill reports, Mohave County Sheriff Doug Schuster and Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb both said they aren’t going to hand out fines, citations or arrest people who disobey the governor’s mandate.
“My conscience will not allow me to arrest someone who is trying to make a living,” Schuster told the Arizona Republic. “I don’t believe it is a crime to try and make a living.”
“I don’t think, for the most part, people want to be defying [the order],” Schuster added. “They’re trying to do what’s best for their families.”
“I’m not going to make criminals out of law-abiding citizens,” Schuster said.
Ducey said last week that violators could face a fine or jail time for not complying with his stay-at-home order.
The governor extended the state’s stay-at-home order until May 15, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Ducey said he will allow some businesses to gradually open beginning on May 8, but would not entertain the idea of a statewide lift on the lockdown order just yet.
“Law enforcement can suggest they begin listening to the order,” Ducey said. “And if they don’t, they’re going to have a class 1 misdemeanor, which is a $2,500 fine and up to six months in jail, and we will enforce that.”
But Schuster told the Arizona Republic he cannot arrest or fine people for violating Ducey’s order and said that he felt doing so violated the Constitution.
“If I were to consider enforcing that, I would be in violation of my oath,” he told the paper. “That is something I cannot do.”
Lamb made similar remarks in his interview with the paper, saying, “I think people want to know that we’re going to support their constitutional rights.”
“I felt [Ducey] pushed me into a position where I needed to make our stance clear,” he told the paper.
“The numbers don’t justify the actions anymore. Three hundred deaths is not a significant enough number to continue to ruin the economy,” he
“I don’t want to cite, fine or arrest fine people,” said Sheriff Lamb.
According to The New York Times’s database, 360 deaths from the virus have been recorded in Arizona and more than 8,600 cases detected.