Sheriff from Calif. says his department will not enforce new state lockdown orders
Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco discusses defying Newsom’s COVID-19 restrictions.
Riverside County (Calif.) Sheriff Chad Bianco doubled down Tuesday on refusing to enforce Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mandates, despite facing threats from state officials to push coronavirus lockdown orders.
“We still have a real job to do. We still are answering calls for service for a real crime where people are being victimized and hurt, and it’s almost like he’s expecting us to completely drop that, forget about all of that, and just start responding to the social issues of masking and business that is not open," Bianco told “Fox & Friends.”
"That is not what we should be utilizing our resources for, and I just can’t do it,” he said.
Bianco said the latest lockdown orders made no sense for his Southern California county, one of the largest in the country with over 2 million residents.
“Common sense is going to tell you that you cannot group Los Angeles County with all of the rest of the counties being mostly rural and say that they’re the same thing. … It makes absolutely no sense, just like everything else that’s been going on with locking businesses down makes absolutely no sense,” Bianco said.
CALIFORNIA SHERIFF TELLS NEWSOM COUNTY WON'T BE 'BLACKMAILED, BULLIED, OR USED AS MUSCLE AGAINST' RESIDENTS
Bianco last week said his office will not be “blackmailed, bullied, or used as muscle” against county residents to enforce Newsom’s coronavirus orders.
In a statement, Bianco criticized Newsom's “dictatorial attitude” toward Californians, while he dined in luxury, traveled, kept his own business open, and sent his kids to in-person private school.
It is “very telling about his attitude toward California residents, his feelings about the virus, and it is extremely hypocritical,” Bianco said.
The sheriff’s comments come as most regions in California are on the brink of another sweeping lockdown in an attempt to curtail the resurgent virus.
The California Department of Public Health on Saturday said the intensive care unit capacity in Southern California and Central Valley hospital had fallen below a 15% threshold that triggers the new measures, which include strict closures for businesses and a ban on gathering with anyone outside one's own household. The new measures will take effect Sunday evening and remain in place for at least three weeks, meaning the lockdown will cover the Christmas holiday.
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Bianco sympathized with the people who are defying the shutdown.
“They can’t do it anymore. They’re losing their businesses if they haven’t lost them already," he said. "They’re losing their houses, they’re not paying their bill … I can’t blame them when all of the government, including governor Newsom, all of these people are still getting paid."
Fox News' Bradford Betz contributed to this report.
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