A Democrat county sheriff is the latest to say he is not going to enforce Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s shutdown order.
Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson told Charlie LeDuff’s No BS News Hour on Friday that he won’t be assisting Whitmer in going after residents she believes are violating her decrees.
“First, you know, people have to talk about the Constitution in its entirety. And that’s the separation of powers,” Swanson told him, the Detroit News reported.
“And the sheriff is the executive branch of that separation. We enforce laws — with discretion, remember that.”
It is dangerous for police officers to determine what’s right and what’s wrong. Otherwise I could look at Lafayette (Boulevard in Detroit) and say: “You know, by the order of the sheriff, I don’t agree with the speed limit. Go as fast as you want.” I can’t do that.
But what I can do is say: “I’m not going to park cars there and pull over everybody going one (mph) over.” I tell this to my people in Genesee County, because I have seen people and I have seen people on the nursing side… the business side, they’re dying. We have not raided a business. We have not shut a business down. We’re not pulling people over. We’re not writing tickets. And don’t expect us to do it.
On Tuesday, Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy also said he would use discretion in not enforcing Whitmer’s order:
Murphy said Whitmer’s vague order has left residents and law enforcement confused:
For example, I go out and ticket a boat that’s operating with a motor, and I get hauled into court, and the judge says, “What are you doing?”
“Hey, I’m upholding the executive order. Governor says you can operate a boat, but you can’t operate a boat with a motor.” And I hold up this executive order that nowhere in that executive order does it say you can’t have a motor. She mentioned that in a press conference. She mentioned that in the Frequently Asked Questions. But it was not in the order. So I’m supposed to uphold an order that’s not clear and concise, that’s based on Frequently Asked Questions.
Shiawassee County Sheriff Brian BeGole, too, said his department would not enforce Whitmer’s order:
The Sheriff of Shiawassee County has publicly announced his department will not enforce the Governor's current executive orders! This is the county where Karl the Barber Manke's shop is located. We are going to win this fight.#StandUpMichigan pic.twitter.com/0c7PiOGMbd
— Garrett Soldano (@GarrettSoldano) May 11, 2020
“With limited resources, staffing and facilities, our priority focus will be on enforcing duly passed laws for the protection of Shiawassee County citizens,” BeGole wrote in a public letter.
“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.”
Whitmer lashed out at residents on Monday.
“I expect people to follow the law,” she said.
“These executive orders are not a suggestion. They’re not optional. They’re not helpful hints.”