Mike Huckabee sues police for threatening to arrest him on his private beach

‘It forces them to public locations to recreate potentially closer to many other persons increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19’

James Crump
Friday 10 April 2020 17:43
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Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is suing Florida authorities, after they issued an order preventing him from using his private beach during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Huckabee and many of his neighbours have filed a lawsuit that challenges a county order to close all beaches, according to Law and Crime.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order for the state on 1 April, after people had been ignoring social distancing advice for weeks.

The residents say that the Walton County order is too strict and prevents them from engaging in activities that the state's one allows.

Their complaint claims that police officers have been patrolling the area and threatening to "arrest or fine Plaintiffs, their family members, or invitees on their private properties."

The residents claim that the order prevents them from “being able to use or even set foot in their own backyards.”

In a memorandum that accompanied the lawsuit, the residents said that it is counterproductive to stop them from using their own beaches.

“The county’s ordinance forces family members into a confined space within their house rather than allow them to social distance and recreate in their sandy backyard,” the memorandum read.

“Or it forces them to public locations to recreate potentially closer to many other persons increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19.

“Either way, it is counterproductive. And it is beyond reasonable dispute that any hypothetical, negligible benefit conjured by those who passed the Walton County ordinance cannot possibly outweigh the profound trammelling of the present plaintiffs’ constitutional rights,” it read.

The Arkansas Times reports that the part of the beach closest to the water is public property.

Mr Desantis previously refused to close the state's beaches and told reporters “no matter what you do, you’re going to have a class of folks who are going to do whatever the hell they want to.”

According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, upwards of 473,093 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached at least 16,736.

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