BCSO sheriff says he won’t enforce public health order

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The sheriff of New Mexico’s largest county said he won’t enforce the state’s public health order, while bashing the governor’s directives in a new YouTube video. Now, the governor’s office is responding.

The YouTube video posted Friday shows Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales saying his department is encouraging people to stay safe but has no plans to enforce New Mexico’s public health order. 

“Overreaching restrictions will only hurt our community,” said Sheriff Gonzales. “For that reason, we will not follow along with any orders that subvert your constitutional rights.”

He goes on to express that New Mexicans have already been through a lot during the pandemic including the closure of several businesses, and children not being able to go to school in person.

“In New Mexico, we have experienced some of the most restrictive measures which has [sic] significantly impacted countless New Mexicans’ livelihoods, health, and wellbeing,” said Sheriff Gonzales.

A spokesperson with the BCSO said deputies won’t be targeting or ticketing people directly. Which includes restrictions and measures that are directed toward people and businesses, but did not give specifics.

“My agency’s focus will continue to be public safety, apprehending actual criminals, and not harassing everyday citizens,” said Sheriff Gonzales.

In response to the video, a spokesperson with the governor’s office sent KRQE a statement saying in part:

“Over 2,000 New Mexicans have been killed by COVID-19, including over 460 people in Bernalillo County. It is deeply disappointing, not to mention directly harmful, that any public official would take any action that undermines the health and safety of their community. All New Mexicans should agree on the importance of doing anything and everything we can to save lives.”

A spokesperson with BCSO said they’ve issued at least one mask citation during the pandemic.

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