New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo blasted several sheriffs in his state who announced they would not enforce his strict coronavirus restrictions over Thanksgiving.
“I don’t believe as a law enforcement officer you have a right to pick and choose what laws you will enforce,” Cuomo said Wednesday during a press conference.
“It is, frankly, frightening to me as an individual, frightening to democracy. It’s arrogant, and it violates your constitutional duty,” he said.
Cuomo signed an executive order earlier this month capping Thanksgiving celebrations at 10 people to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Several sheriffs across the state, however, said they would not enforce this restriction, calling it “unconstitutional” and unenforceable.
“Frankly, I am not sure it could sustain a Constitutional challenge in Court for several reasons—including your house is your castle,” Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino wrote in a Facebook post.
“And as a Sheriff with a law degree I couldn’t in good faith attempt to defend it Court, so I won’t,” he continued. “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.”
Giardino was joined by three other New York sheriffs: Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo, Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy and Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard.
Cuomo insisted on Wednesday that his executive order “is a law” that must be obeyed.
Sheriffs cannot just decide “Well, I don’t believe in that law, and therefore I won’t enforce it,” Cuomo said.
The Democrat then claimed that the sheriffs’ opinions “do not matter.”
“There’s a law, and you have to enforce the law, or don’t call yourself a law enforcement officer,” he said.