Exclusive: Houston Police Officers’ Union president slams judge who ordered arrests for citizens not wearing face masks

A recent order from Harris County judge Lina Hidalgo is facing backlash in Houston, Texas. The order would fine citizens $1,000 if caught not wearing a face mask in public for the next 30 days starting next week.

Under the order, residents 10 years old and older are required to wear a covering, starting Monday, April 27. The only exceptions will be when exercising, eating, drinking, if you’re alone in a separate place or at your home.

In a Fox News exclusive, Houston’s police union president, Joe Gramaldi, called the measure “draconian.”

“We encourage all of our officers to wear a mask. We want citizens to wear masks. We draw the line in this draconian measure that our county judge wants to impose on all of our law-abiding, hardworking citizens of our community,” Gramaldi told Fox News.

For individuals who have lost their income, a $1,000 fine could make their circumstances much worse. Some see Judge Hidalgo’s order as a way to prevent further spread of the coronavirus, but Grimaldi thinks there are other factors at play.

“You know, the funny thing about this order is it’s supposed to be for the public health and it is imperative that we do it right now. But yet the order doesn’t start for another four or five days. So if it’s so important, why aren’t we starting it now? Why are we waiting until Monday to start this order? It’s a complete joke and it’s an overreach by this county judge,” Gramaldi said.

The police union’s president said the police have put a lot of effort into building a bridge to the community and this order would undo all the hard work they have done.

“We work every single day to build that bridge with the community, to build that trust. And now this county judge wants to come in, Judge Leana Hidalgo, and she wants to erode all of that trust by having our officers go out into the community and question people on whether or not they’re wearing a mask,” explained Gramaldi.

Gramaldi is not the only person to speak out against this order. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, said “commonsense guidelines” should never lead to “unjust tyranny.”

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also released a statement on Twitter writing, “These kind of confused government policies fuel public anger — and rightfully so.”

*story by Fox News