American law enforcement has slapped the cuffs on once again this week in an attempt to enforce social distancing guidelines amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Three Colorado men have been arrested and charged with misdemeanor offenses after allegedly violating a state public health order by gathering at a friend’s private residence and refusing to depart the premises.
According to KMGH-TV, local police were called to the Steamboat Springs, Colorado, residence at 9 p.m. Monday evening by a concerned roommate who had previously attempted to prevent the gathering, uncomfortable with hosting company.
Three men — 25-year-old Ryan P. Albert, 34-year-old Travis J. Pettit and 28-year-old Joseph A. Thompson — were unwilling to provide identification or comply with the responding officers’ demands that the gathering be disbanded. All three were taken into custody.
Each of the men has been charged with one count apiece of obstructing a peace officer and failing to comply with a public health order, with Thompson also charged with violating a protection order.
Bond was not granted and the three were forced to spend the night in jail.
Three men, who all live outside of Steamboat Springs, were arrested in the city Monday evening on charges of not complying with the public health order after refusing to leave a friend’s residence, police said. https://t.co/QJyELg81Kv pic.twitter.com/KwRiRXwRUv
— Denver7 News (@DenverChannel) April 15, 2020
Monday’s incident was not the first reported instance of formal law enforcement action carried out in the interest of enforcing a variety of social distancing guidelines put in place nationwide in order to combat the spread of coronavirus.
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In fact, the state of Colorado has seen several such instances, with Democratic Gov. Jared Polis’ vague Public Health Order 20-24 barring a majority of gatherings public or private and forcing all state residents to “Stay at Home whenever possible.”
In the Denver suburb of Brighton, father-of-one Matt Mooney was detained by local police on April 5 for playing T-ball with his 6-year-old daughter in a seemingly empty public park.
Open to “groups of no more than 4 persons,” according to official signage, Donelson Park was closed as a result of the governor’s superseding order — and Mooney’s presence had apparently warranted calls for service from a concerned citizen in the area.
Mooney refused to give police officers his information and was handcuffed for roughly 10 minutes before being released by order of someone further up the chain of command, the Brighton Police Department told The Western Journal.
A subsequent interview with Mooney revealed, however, that the father’s adamant demands that his due process rights be respected amid the detainment would see him labeled a potential “sovereign citizen” by one of the responding officers.
The term is used by the FBI to describe domestic terrorists ideologically unwilling to accept the authority of the United States government despite legal residence in the U.S.
Executive stay-at-home orders similar to Colorado’s have been a major point of controversy for the American public in recent weeks, with arrests like these leading some to believe the orders represent substantial government overreaction.
Thousands of conservatives gathered Wednesday outside the Michigan capitol building in protest of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extended stay-at-home order.
“I came out here to support the Michigan businesses and stand up for the rights of Michiganders,” protester Joseph Dickson said at the event. “We believe the governor has overreached and overstepped her rights with our freedoms.”
Mooney expressed similar sentiment in light of his detainment, warning in a Facebook post that unquestioned compliance with each and every government action taken amid the ongoing national emergency would set a dangerous precedent.
“To everyone that says I would have just listened and moved on, that is the whole point of this,” Mooney wrote. “The government is stripping us of our rights because people just roll over go along with what they say. Sometimes you have to stand up and make a stand regardless of the costs.”
“To those that say I’m the one that subjected my daughter to the traumatizing event of me being arrested. Yes, you are partially right, I could have backed down and just complied to spare her that but this is also a teachable moment,” he added.
“We can teach our kids that the government is always right and tyrannical or we can teach them that yes YOU can stand up for what is right.”
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