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Gov. Andrew Cuomo Calls Sheriffs Who Won't Enforce His Thanksgiving Restrictions Dictators

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is very angry at the law enforcement agencies in his state who have come out to say they will not be enforcing the COVID-19-related restrictions that he has put in place ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.


Some sheriffs in New York, particularly upstate, have stated they will focus their deputies' attention on real emergencies and not waste time going door-to-door making sure people are complying with guest limits. Others have said enforcing such rules would violate their oaths to the Constitution.

"You have sheriffs upstate who have said, 'I'm not going to enforce the law.' Now, how a law enforcement officer says, 'I choose not to enforce that law,' I believe that law enforcement violates his or her constitutional duty. I don't consider them a law enforcement officer," Cuomo said during a press conference on Monday.

"Because you don't have the right to pick laws that you think you will enforce and you don't enforce laws you don't agree with, right? That's not a law enforcement officer, that's a dictator," he added.

"With regard to the Thanksgiving Executive Order, the Fulton County Sheriff's Office will NOT be enforcing it against our County residents. Frankly, I am not sure it could sustain a Constitutional challenge in Court for several reasons including your house is your castle. And as a Sheriff with a law degree, I couldn't in good faith attempt to defend it in Court, so I won't. Who and how many people you invite into your home is your business, unlike outdoor gatherings which may receive a police response if disorderly or other violations of public nuisance laws occur," Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino wrote in a Facebook post.


Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard also wrote, "I have no plans to utilize my office’s resources or Deputies to break up the great tradition of Thanksgiving dinner. This national holiday has created longstanding family traditions that are at the heart of America, and these traditions should not be stopped or interrupted by Governor Cuomo’s mandates."

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