by WorldTribune Staff, April 6, 2020
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has warned Democratic officials against crossing the line into authoritarianism with the strict enforcement of stay-at-home orders.
Cruz tweeted on Sunday: “This is absurd. To Dem politicians (and it seems to be only Dems doing this, eg Wolf in PA, DeBlasio in NYC, Cooper in NC), protect public safety, but WE DON’T LIVE IN A POLICE STATE. Resist authoritarianism & don’t abuse power. Driving a car alone is not a public health threat.”
The tweet was in response to a report of a 19-year-old Pennsylvania woman who was stopped by state police and given a non-traffic citation for failing to obey Gov. Tom Wolf’s stay-at-home order. Police initially pulled the woman, identified by PennLive as Anita Shaffer, over because of a “vehicle code violation,” but the only citation issued pertained to her violation of the stay-at-home order.
According to the citation, Shaffer “failed to abide by the order of the governor and secretary of health issued to control the spread of a communicable disease, requiring the closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses as of 20:00 hours on March 19, 2020. To wit, defendant states that she was ‘going for a drive’ after this violation was in effect.”
Shaffer explained to PennLive that the state police told her they had pulled her over for a faulty tail light, but said that once she returned home, her father was unable to find anything wrong with it. She also said that she was aware of the governor’s order, but “didn’t know it pertained to just driving.”
Meanwhile, the sheriff of Franklin County, Maine said “We will not be setting up a Police State. PERIOD.” Sheriff Scott Nichols was responding to Gov. Janet Mills’ executive order telling would-be visitors not to come to Maine if they have symptoms of the coronavirus, and mandating that all out-of-state travelers self-quarantine for 14 days.
Violators of Mills’ order could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
“The Sheriff’s Office will not purposefully go out and stop vehicles because they are on the road or stop and ask why people are out and about. To do so puts our officers at risk. This is not Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia where you are asked for your papers!” Nichols said.
Nichols said the sheriff’s office will ensure that common-sense social distancing rules will be enforced.
“What we will take action on, if needed – are those rare situations where there are a lot of people overtly hanging out in public – obviously in defiance of the governor’s order. Even in that case – we will first educate and try to disperse the group. We will avoid arrests unless absolutely necessary.”