New Mexico sheriff refuses to enforce state's strict COVID-19 stay-at-home order because he says it turns 'citizens into villains' and breaches constitutional rights

 A sheriff in New Mexico says he will no longer enforce the state's 'restrictive' COVID-19 stay at home order because he believes it breaches constitutional rights.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, who oversees the city of Albuquerque, accused some of the state's politicians of 'turning everyday citizens into villains'.

He said in a video posted to the department's YouTube page that New Mexico was experiencing 'some of the most restrictive measures' designed to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the country. 


Gonzales said he sympathized with the families, businesses and houses of worship affected by the current measures imposed by state's Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.

'Some elected officeholders have prioritized turning everyday citizens into villains for simply attempting to live their lives in the pursuit of happiness,' Gonzales said.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, who oversees the city of Albuquerque, accused some of the state's politicians of 'turning everyday citizens into villains'. He says he will no longer enforce the state's 'restrictive' COVID-19 stay at home order because he believes it breaches constitutional rights

Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, who oversees the city of Albuquerque, accused some of the state's politicians of 'turning everyday citizens into villains'. He says he will no longer enforce the state's 'restrictive' COVID-19 stay at home order because he believes it breaches constitutional rights

Bernalillo County Sheriff says he won't enforce stay-at-home order
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'It is my opinion that the resources of the sheriff's office should be focused on making our communities safe and more prosperous for everyday citizens.'

He said he was choosing to direct his agency's 'time and resources' to preventing crime and not enforcing COVID-19 restrictions. 

'Overreaching restrictions will only hurt our community,' he said. 

'For that reason, we will not follow along with any orders that subvert your Constitutional rights. Therefore, my agency's focus will continue to be public safety, apprehending actual criminals, and not harassing everyday citizens attempting to make a life for themselves and their families in Bernalillo County.'


Gonzales said that Bernalillo County had seen its 'fair share of personal hardships and devastation' as a result of the pandemic. 

'It has been a tragic situation for many reasons. We all agree we must do better,' he said. 

'This year, my office listened to numerous citizens concerned about what have been categorized as "oppressive lockdown mandates".'

He noted that the majority of schools remain closed to in-person learning, businesses have permanently closed and people are waiting in line for hours to buy food. 

The seven-day rolling averages for daily new cases have decreased in the last two weeks, while daily deaths continue to increase. The statewide totals increased to 129,993 cases and 2,171 known deaths on Sunday

The seven-day rolling averages for daily new cases have decreased in the last two weeks, while daily deaths continue to increase. The statewide totals increased to 129,993 cases and 2,171 known deaths on Sunday

The seven-day rolling averages for deaths has increased in the last two weeks from 28.9 on December 4 to 34.1 as of Friday. Pictured are refrigerated morgues outside of the New Mexico Scientific Laboratories in Albuquerque last week

The seven-day rolling averages for deaths has increased in the last two weeks from 28.9 on December 4 to 34.1 as of Friday. Pictured are refrigerated morgues outside of the New Mexico Scientific Laboratories in Albuquerque last week

Health officials in New Mexico on Sunday reported 1,077 new COVID-19 cases and 16 related deaths.

The statewide totals increased to 129,993 cases and 2,171 known deaths.

The seven-day rolling averages for daily new cases have decreased in the last two weeks, while daily deaths continue to increase.

Of the 1,077 new cases, New Mexico Department of Health officials said 278 of them were in Bernalillo County. 

The rolling average of daily new cases in New Mexico dropped from 1,869 on December 4 to 1,542.1 on Friday, while the rolling average of deaths rose from 28.9 to 34.1.

On Thursday, when the state reported a pandemic-high 48 daily deaths linked to the pandemic, Gov. Grisham said she was concerned that daily deaths could grow even higher over the year-end holidays.

Hospitalizations across New Mexico are starting to decrease after surging to record highs early this month

Hospitalizations across New Mexico are starting to decrease after surging to record highs early this month

The state last week amended its public health order to allow more people inside grocery stores and other essential businesses to address the issue of residents having to wait outside in frigid temperatures. 

Lines have formed outside grocery stores and other retailers for weeks following Grisham's order that capacity be limited at establishments as a way to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

She has said the tough measures have helped to reduce new infections. However, deaths and hospitalizations related to the pandemic remain high.  

Still in effect is the state's color-coded system for classifying counties based on the rate of spread and setting benchmarks they must meet in order to begin easing restrictions. All 33 counties are in the red high-risk category.

Under the change, grocery stores and other essential retailers will be allowed to operate at 25 percent of maximum occupancy if they are in the red zone. Previously, essential retail spaces could operate with either a limit on maximum occupancy or a specific number of customers at one time, whichever was smaller.

Capacity will incrementally increase as counties move up to yellow and green tiers, but some municipal leaders have acknowledged it could be months before more populated areas such as Albuquerque and Las Cruces see improvements.  

New Mexico sheriff refuses to enforce state's strict COVID-19 stay-at-home order because he says it turns 'citizens into villains' and breaches constitutional rights New Mexico sheriff refuses to enforce state's strict COVID-19 stay-at-home order because he says it turns 'citizens into villains' and breaches constitutional rights Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 08:22 Rating: 5

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