Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco did not wait until California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new round of lockdown edicts took effect to tell the governor that he will not be party to depriving citizens of their civil liberties because of the coronavirus.
On Thursday, according to The New York Times, Newsom ordered that if available intensive care capacity in a targeted county dips below 15 percent capacity, playgrounds will be closed and businesses such as hair salons shuttered for at least three weeks. The lockdown would also limit store capacity and limit restaurants to only takeout and delivery service.
Bianco took to YouTube Friday with a defiant message that local authorities would not simply kowtow to the governor, no matter what threats were put on the table.
Bianco noted that “We were also told that there was a potential he would be withholding federal and state funding from counties that did not enforce the orders.”
Bianco said Newsom lives by a double standard.
“Ironically, it wasn’t that long ago that our same governor loudly and publicly argued how wrong it was for the president of the United States to withhold federal funding from states not complying with federal laws,” Bianco said.
“The dictatorial attitude toward California residents while dining in luxury, traveling, keeping his business open and sending his kids to in-person private schools is very telling about his attitude toward California residents, his feelings about the virus, and it is extremely hypocritical,” he said, referring to a recent dinner at which Newsom broke his own rules to dine with friends at a swanky Northern California restaurant.
Bianco said the state is not basing its actions on facts and suggested the state try common sense.
“These closures and stay-at-home orders are flat out ridiculous,” he said. “The metrics used for closures are unbelievably faulty and are not representative of true numbers and are disastrous for Riverside County.”
Bianco said Newsom is playing politics to distract from his own shortcomings,
“It appears part of the new goal is to shift attention away from his and others’ personal behavior with a ‘Do as I say, not as I do,’ attitude by turning public opinion against California sheriffs,” Bianco said.
“He 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,” he said. “I believe that all jobs are essential to someone.
“Leaders to not threaten, attempt to intimidate or cause fear. Bullies do,” he said.
“As has been our position from the beginning of this pandemic, the Sheriff’s Department is asking and expecting Riverside County residents to act responsibly and do what they can to protect themselves and their family from contracting the virus,” he said. “Wear your mask and practice social distancing.”
Biano said the state can talk all it wants, but it will not change his mind.
“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 said.
According to Bianco, the sheriff’s department’s approach to the new orders would remain the same it has throughout the pandemic.
The Riverside Sheriffs’ Association, which represents employees of Bianco’s department, said the sheriff spoke for its members as well, according to KTTV-TV.
“The Riverside Sheriffs’ Association (RSA) wholeheartedly agrees with and backs the sentiments expressed by Sheriff Chad Bianco in his December 4, 2020 video,” it said in a statement.
“The RSA repeats what we previously said in May regarding calls for the Sheriff’s Department to use criminal laws to enforce health orders: We do not believe that to suppress the virus we should replace inmates in jail with business owners, single moms and healthy individuals who are expressing their constitutional rights,” the statement read.
“To do so would not only unnecessarily waste precious law enforcement resources, but it would also contribute to a breakdown of trust between law enforcement and the residents we serve,” the statement said.
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