A New York sheriff on Saturday slammed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order limiting indoor gatherings due to the coronavirus as government overreach and assured residents that law enforcement has no constitutional authority to enforce it.
“With regard to the Thanksgiving Executive Order, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office will NOT be enforcing it against our County residents,” Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino wrote in a statement. “Frankly, I am not sure it could sustain a Constitutional challenge in Court for several reasons including your house is your castle. And as a Sheriff with a law degree I couldn’t in good faith attempt to defend it Court, so I won’t.
“Who and how many people you invite in to your home is your business, unlike outdoor gatherings which may receive a police response if disorderly or other violations of public nuisance laws occur,” he continued. “We have limited resources and we have to set priorities, so obtaining a Search Warrant to enter your home to see how many Turkey or Tofu eaters are present is not a priority. We won’t be doing that.”
Sheriff Giardino told the Albany Times Union that his statement posted to Facebook Saturday wasn’t meant to be political, but a lesson in “common sense.” He said he trusts Fulton County residents to use their own judgment when it comes to celebrating the holidays.
“So don’t feel a need to hide cars, cover with leaves or walk 3 blocks so your house doesn’t become a target of the Governors EO,” read his statement, adding that the “constant barrage of Government Regulations and control over your daily lives” had worsened the devastation of the pandemic.
His statement came after Mr. Cuomo announced a ban on indoor gatherings of more than 10 people at private residences.
Rich Azzopardi, senior adviser to the governor, denounced Sheriff Giardino’s comments.
“Politicians acting like politicians and ignoring what the actual experts say has been fueling the spread of this virus is what plunged this country in this continued public health crisis in the first place,” Mr. Azzopardi told the Times Union. “We urge everyone to continue to be smart and act responsibly. We know this makes people unhappy, but better unhappy then sick or worse.”
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