Law Enforcement agencies address Indiana mask mandate

According to Indiana's mask mandate, not wearing a mask is a Class B misdemeanor. Many area law enforcement agencies say they won't be enforcing it.

Posted: Jul 23, 2020 6:35 PM
Updated: Jul 23, 2020 6:44 PM

KNOX COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - According to Indiana's mask mandate, not wearing a mask is a Class B misdemeanor. Many area law enforcement agencies say they won't be enforcing it.

Washington and Loogootee police departments both released similar statements. Both say that "the refusal or failure for any one individual to wear a mask in public does not constitute a crime". Both ask for residents to be respectful of each other regardless of their support of the mandate.

Prosecutor Dirk Carnahan's Full Statement on Governor Holcomb's mask mandate 

"Governor Eric Holcomb has mandated the use of masks in all public indoor spaces and outdoor spaces when social distancing is not possible. The governor’s statement says that failure to comply will be a crime, specifically a class B misdemeanor. A class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1000.

Attorney General Curtis Hill promptly issued a legal opinion that the Governor does not have the authority to criminalize the refusal to wear a mask without an act of the legislature.

Following these actions, I have been contacted by law enforcement officers and citizens who are asking how this mandate will affect Knox County.

Our citizens have strong opinions both for and against wearing masks. These arguments have pitted friends and neighbors against each other.

I continue to encourage the use of masks, but do not believe arresting and jailing those who do not wear masks is appropriate.

A Class B misdemeanor is the same level offense as driving a vehicle under the influence or possessing certain dangerous or addictive drugs. An arrest can have devastating consequences on life, health, employment and reputation. This is one of the reasons why our legislature has a very deliberate process to pass laws creating new crimes.

Our community faces issues related to drug abuse and violent crime. Our law enforcement officers deal with a climate of distrust and uneasiness. Arresting and jailing our citizens for failing to wear a mask would burden our courts, limit our ability to prosecute more serious crimes and create unnecessary conflict between our citizens and law enforcement. A citizen arrested and jailed for not wearing a mask could face consequences including losing work, being unable to care for themselves or family, custody issues, stress, anxiety, financial hardship, and a nearly endless list of potentially devastating outcomes.

While I will continue to encourage the use of masks in public spaces and by those who are most at risk, I will not support the arrest of our citizens for not wearing a mask.

I agree with the Attorney General that our Governor, despite the best intentions, lacks the authority to mandate wearing of masks without involving the legislative representatives of our citizens. I also do not support criminalizing this behavior in a way that will harm our ability to investigate and prosecute existing crimes while potentially devastating an otherwise innocent citizen. My office will not prosecute any of our citizens for not wearing a mask as mandated by the Governor."

LINK | INDIANA'S MASK MANDATE TO START ON JULY 27 - HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

In Knox County, prosecutor Dirk Carnahan released a statement Thursday afternoon. In the statement, the prosecutor says his office will not prosecute any residents for not wearing a mask.

News 10 spoke with Knox county sheriff Doug Vantlin. He says the sheriff's office will also not be enforcing the mandate. However, he says he still strongly supports wearing a mask in public.

Vantlin says, "Governor Holcomb, the governor has all good intentions for the people in the state. That's why he did it. He's trying to protect us by doing this. But there's just some questions that arise with this. That we're not going to enforce it."

Terre Haute
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 83°
Robinson
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 81°
Indianapolis
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 80°
Rockville
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 84°
Casey
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 83°
Brazil
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 83°
Marshall
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 83°
A Breezy, Mild Night
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1612129

Reported Deaths: 27216
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook61543610987
DuPage1042681360
Will876561092
Lake773641061
Kane66108852
Winnebago39170545
Madison38345578
St. Clair35140571
McHenry33177317
Peoria26076363
Champaign25967184
Sangamon24718273
McLean22003208
Tazewell19833326
Rock Island17919348
Kankakee16856235
Kendall15537107
Macon14565244
LaSalle14539278
Vermilion13343190
Adams12733148
DeKalb11729129
Williamson11528160
Whiteside7944176
Jackson774389
Boone762782
Coles7404113
Ogle718087
Grundy704582
Franklin693999
Clinton683798
Knox6715166
Marion6581138
Macoupin6525100
Henry625674
Effingham612882
Jefferson6116132
Livingston574196
Woodford556191
Stephenson549789
Randolph532197
Monroe510199
Christian496380
Fulton491570
Morgan488996
Logan478474
Montgomery470476
Lee460658
Bureau429188
Perry416671
Saline414064
Fayette403459
Iroquois396973
McDonough356656
Jersey324253
Shelby317343
Crawford307930
Douglas307636
Lawrence303431
Union297347
Wayne276057
White267730
Richland264455
Hancock258834
Pike258056
Clark253538
Cass252228
Bond244824
Clay242247
Edgar237545
Ford235956
Warren227161
Carroll226537
Johnson214925
Moultrie212931
Jo Daviess207226
Washington206627
Wabash202616
Greene200939
Mason200351
Massac200144
De Witt196830
Piatt192114
Mercer191234
Cumberland179825
Menard160812
Jasper153418
Marshall135621
Hamilton129821
Brown10228
Pulaski99211
Schuyler9748
Edwards96815
Stark77227
Gallatin7557
Scott6975
Alexander68111
Henderson66114
Calhoun6452
Hardin56414
Putnam5464
Pope4945
Unassigned1812432
Out of IL60

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 947918

Reported Deaths: 15377
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1291181990
Lake635721103
Allen53899761
Hamilton44082449
St. Joseph42122590
Elkhart33803491
Vanderburgh30574449
Tippecanoe26915251
Johnson23727418
Hendricks22410342
Porter21832347
Clark17562231
Madison17492385
Vigo16302285
Monroe14545191
LaPorte14389239
Delaware14183222
Howard13971273
Kosciusko11498135
Hancock10935166
Warrick10737178
Bartholomew10635170
Floyd10514208
Wayne10077226
Grant9213204
Morgan8928160
Boone8463111
Dubois7791123
Dearborn769490
Henry7691133
Noble7466101
Marshall7409128
Cass7219118
Lawrence7026153
Shelby6647111
Jackson661386
Gibson6190107
Harrison609386
Huntington604495
Montgomery5853105
DeKalb581091
Knox5535104
Miami548888
Putnam543268
Clinton537465
Whitley529354
Steuben501768
Wabash488692
Jasper483861
Jefferson474492
Ripley457777
Adams446068
Daviess4231108
Scott409165
Clay394957
White393858
Greene393392
Wells389884
Decatur388797
Fayette378578
Posey362341
Jennings356056
Washington334747
LaGrange325175
Spencer321136
Fountain318455
Randolph317190
Sullivan309449
Owen287064
Starke282864
Fulton280454
Orange277859
Jay257038
Perry254152
Carroll245229
Franklin242838
Rush237030
Vermillion235050
Parke221420
Tipton212055
Pike211740
Blackford170534
Pulaski168551
Crawford147318
Newton145845
Benton143916
Brown135846
Martin130217
Switzerland126910
Warren115616
Union98511
Ohio80511
Unassigned0482