Eight Minnesotans have been charged with violating Governor Tim Walz’s stay at home order, an offense that could earn them up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
A 57-year-old small business owner in Winnebago Minnesota became the first Minnesotan charged with violating Walz’s orders, last month. The man, David M. Schuster, was arrested after police discovered him playing cards with three friends in the bar that he owns. The bar was not open for service at the time of his arrest, and police say the door was locked as the friends played cards privately, according to the Star Tribune.
More recently, a cottage grove woman was cited Tuesday, after police discovered her outside her home visiting her storage unit and purchasing food.
“She told me that she just left Taco Bell and prior to that she was organizing her belongings at Acorn Mini Storage in Cottage Grove,” the involved officer reported on the citation given to the woman, according to the Tribune.
The woman was originally pulled over because she has a history of driving with a suspended license, but civil rights lawyer Teresa Nelson says that the commission of a small crime doesn’t justify the enforcement of potentially unfair laws.
“What is the point of pursuing this misdemeanor charge along with the other things?” she asks, according to the Tribune. “Why not just focus on the main bad behaviors?”
Eden Prairie police Lieutenant Matt Sackett says his department feels justified in tacking on violations to the stay at home orders to other charges. “We’re going to use all of our available resources to hold people accountable,” he says, per the Tribune.
Apparently, the state government has taken a similar approach when it comes to utilizing all available resources. The Walz administration currently maintains a hotline that citizens can use to report each other for disobeying his orders. State workers say they’ve already tracked over 500 calls since the line was opened about a week ago, according to the Duluth News Tribune.
Minnesota Republicans have called on Walz to shut down the hotline. “This hotline will only spread fear and mistrust amongst neighbors and communities. We are not a communist country, and we have constitutional rights here in the United States of America,” State Senator Jeff Howe said, Thursday.