In a Facebook video, a Michigan sheriff simply told residents why his department will not be enforcing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders.
Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy is the latest to announce his agency won’t cite alleged violators of Whitmer’s shutdown and stay-at-home orders.
Murphy said his department would be using discretion when choosing not to enforce the orders.
He said people accepted the need for a lockdown at the beginning, and then as Whitmer continued to issue executive orders–some rescinding others–it got confusing.
Murphy said Whitmer has been creating “Frequently Asked Questions” about the orders, which some people are interpreting as the substance of the order.
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.
He said he was cautioned by the county prosecutor on enforcement “because there is a ton of ambiguity on the orders.”
Murphy also theorized that courts are “not going to get jammed up” with these types of enforcements, since they have been closed for two months, and he said he could “all but assure you” that they will get dismissed.
He invited the attorney general’s office to conduct investigations and enforce Whitmer’s orders.
Murphy denied being political in his decision and said he is “a sheriff making the best decision I can for the men and women in my office and the county as a whole.”
He encouraged residents to conduct proper hygiene and respect social distancing.
“Me deciding whether or not to enforce an executive order isn’t going to do anything to keep you safe,” Murphy said.
Shiawassee County Sheriff Brian BeGole also said his department would not enforce Whitmer’s orders.
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.”