Can police cuff you for violating coronavirus order? Um — yes
Will police patrol our Arizona streets looking for people outside their house for no legitimate reason? Will they bust shoppers at a legally open businesses for illegally standing too close? Or if you decide to take your kids to the park – something that’s open right now – but let them climb all over the monkey bars (a closed part of the park), can the cops put you in handcuffs?
While I don’t think they will, the answer as to whether or not they can appears to be yes.
However, the Phoenix Police Department is not there yet. Chief Jeri Williams told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show that her department is still in the “educational contact” phase: asking folks to, please, follow Gov. Doug Ducey’s and Mayor Kate Gallego’s orders.
However, that could change, at least according to a legal opinion issued Tuesday afternoon by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. In it, he confirms cops can move on to the enforcement phase.
While reminding officers, deputies and courts that they need to respect constitutionally protected individual rights and due process, he clearly says in the opinion that, “local law-enforcement officials and county sheriffs have authority to enforce provisions of lawful emergency declarations.”
So, if someone keeps a nonessential business open because they consider money from customers essential (which I get) or they hit the golf course but aren’t physically distancing from other duffers, police can slap on the cuffs.
But they won’t.
Instead, they’ll hand out tickets and citations because police will continue to remain focused on major crimes. Like murder.
But if you think about it, maybe they should lock up these coronavirus miscreants. Because while it might not be murder, if they keep breaking the rules they may still be responsible for the death of someone.
For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.