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Illinois Sheriffs’ Association: ‘It is outrageous’ that Pritzker is “threatening retaliation’

The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association called it “outrageous” that Gov. JB Pritzker is “threatening retaliation” against local law enforcement offices that aren’t enforcing the statewide stay-at-home order.

The statement was released on Facebook late Thursday, in response to Pritzker’s comments at his daily press briefing.

A member of the media asked Pritzker on Thursday if any additional steps would be taken to enforce the stay-at-home order if more sheriffs refuse to step in.

“Not only should people follow this, but there will be consequences,” Pritzker said. “Also know that there were leaders in the legal community this morning that spoke about the challenges that will be brought to those local law enforcement, to local governments, and to businesses that are open, because they’re putting people at risk, they’re making their communities unsafe, and they’ll be subject to liability as a result.”

In a statement on its Facebook page, the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association said Pritzker’s comments are “insulting heroic police officers, corrections officers and local voters.”

“The Governor again indicated that local law enforcement will face consequences for their statements about how they view the enforce-ability of his executive orders,” the association wrote on Facebook. “Apparently, these consequences now include the threat of litigation and loss of funding, including funding that has been designated through the Federal Cares Act that was designated to units of local government.

“The Governor and his office have repeatedly talked about consulting organizations/groups of impacted experts on issues as they arise. Unfortunately, one of the groups that has never been included are the Sheriffs of this State, nor its representative organization, the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association.”

In his comment Thursday, Pritzker appeared to be referring to a press conference Thursday in which several Illinois bar association leaders discussed the legal ramifications for businesses and local municipalities that might open before the stay-at-home order ends.

Pritzker has said, on a number of occasions, that this is uncharted territory, and that businesses and local governments might be liable for damages if they reopen early. What happens, for instance, if a local business opens early, defying the state’s orders, and an employee later dies from COVID-19? That business could face lawsuits, and insurance companies might not be willing to foot the bill.

In the press conference with local bar leaders Thursday, David Sosin, president of the Illinois State Bar Association, said the association and its members “steadfastly support … the rule of law.”

“It’s principles mandate that we now allow the leadership of our government to lead as the courts consider the issue,” Sosin said.

In other words, unless the courts strike down the stay-at-home order, it is law, in the eyes of the ISBA.

Illinois Trial Lawyers Association President Antonio Romanucci said it would be “absolutely negligent” for any municipality or business to open right now.

“That’s the rule right now,” Romanucci said. “That’s the rule that should be followed and we’ll leave it up for the courts to decide when it’s appropriate to reopen.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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