News and Commentary

State Police In Democratic State: We Will Not Arrest, Jail Any Individual For Violating Lockdown Orders
Illinois Democratic candidate for Governor J.B. Pritzker and his Lieutenant Governor pick Juliana Stratton arrive during his primary election night victory speech on March 20, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.
Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Illinois State Police (ISP) said in a statement posted Tuesday to social media that they will not arrest or jail any individual in violation of Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker’s lockdown or emergency orders.

Pritzker rammed through “emergency orders” on Friday targeting businesses, which level misdemeanor charges at owners who defy his edicts. Not only will they face fines up to $2,500, but owners would possibly face time behind bars.

Apparently, ISP will not be arresting or jailing anyone for such “crimes,” though they said they would be issuing some citations in accordance with “state and constitutional law.”

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois State Police (ISP) continues to focus on community caretaking, educating citizens and businesses and urging voluntary compliance,” a statement from ISP started. “As part of that effort, the ISP will act incrementally to urge compliance of the executive order.”

“Consistent with this community spirit and with state law, policy guidance and discretion,” the statement continued, “the Illinois State Police will not issue any criminal misdemeanors to individuals for violations of temporary emergency rules or executive orders.”

“The Illinois State Police will only apply those emergency rules to entities such as corporations, LLPs or other business entities consistent with state and constitutional law,” the statement added. “No individual will be arrested or taken to jail for a violation of the Executive Orders or emergency rules.”

“We encourage all citizens to continue to do their part to maintain public health as we move forward in the days ahead with Reopening Illinois,” conclude ISP.

As noted by WSILTV, emergency rules issued by Pritzker on Friday “codify opening a business in violation of his order as a violation of Illinois Department of Public Health regulations.”

“The rules allow businesses to be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine ranging anywhere from $75 to $2,500. Less than a year of jail time is also a possibility,” the report noted.

On Wednesday, a bipartisan oversight committee of legislators will have the opportunity to reject the emergency orders. “If the committee doesn’t take action to reject the rules, they would remain in effect for 150 days,” according to WSILTV.

Illinois Republicans quickly slammed Pritzker over the emergency orders, deeming it a blatant “legal overreach.”

“These rules are a legal overreach and beyond the scope of the governor’s authority,” House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said in a statement, according to NBC Chicago.

“It will be a dark day in Illinois when we charge small businesses with a jailable crime for salvaging their livelihoods,” Durkin emphasized.

The governor’s office claimed the emergency rules are “an additional enforcement tool for businesses that refuse to comply with the most critical aspects of the stay-at-home order,” a spokesperson for Pritzker said.

Related: Illinois Governor JB Pritzker Threatens Jail Time If Business Owners Defy Coronavirus Lockdown Orders

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