Lewis County (Washington) Sheriff Robert Snaza apparently suggested that residents defy the face-mask mandate set forth by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee this week.
Inslee's order took effect Friday. Any violation of the new mandate is considered a misdemeanor, and is punishable by up to 90 days in jail or a maximum fine of $1,000.
What are the details?
Snaza encouraged locals residents gathered in church parking lot in Napavine, Washington, "Don't be a sheep."
In a now-viral video filmed earlier this week, Snaza tells the gathered residents, "In case you guys didn't hear, Gov. Inslee in his infinite wisdom has decided after over a hundred and some odd days that we should all wear face masks — inside and out. Here's what I say: Don't be a sheep."
The crowd — including some who waved American flags — erupted in cheers, pumping their fists and clapping.
Snaza can be seen shaking the hands of those in the crowd — none of which are masked — and even hugging some people.
During a Wednesday news conference, Inslee responded to Snaza's remarks.
"I think we have to be disappointed in any law enforcement officer who would encourage illegal behavior," Inslee said, and insisted that wearing a mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic "is about demonstrating our respect and care for the other people around us."
Snaza said that he doesn't necessarily believe that mask-wearing reduces the spread of COVID-19 and added that he doesn't believe law enforcement should intervene in residents' lives if they do not want to wear the face mask.
"Yet we're telling people now to wear it and if you don't wear it, we're going to cite you for that," Snaza said.
Also on Wednesday, Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer blasted Inslee's order in an interview with Oregon Public Broadcasting. Songer called the governor an "idiot" and said he's "overstepping his bounds, violating people's constitutional rights."
Lewis County Sheriff Denounces Inslee's New Statewide Mask Mandate www.youtube.com