On Thursday, it was reported by the Hobbs News-Sun that Lea County Sheriff Corey Helton and the Lea County Sheriff’s Department had a Writ of Mandamus filed against them by Attorney General Hector Balderas for violating Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s strict public health orders.
The move came after the Sheriff and his deputies had eaten indoors at a local restaurant, which the Governor took issue with, as only outdoor dining at 50% capacity is allowed under her new orders.
During last week’s COVID-19 press briefing, Lujan Grisham lambasted the Law Enforcers for sticking it to her by eating at a local restaurant. In a post, the Sheriff’s Office wrote, “#heyleacounty ! Do not be alarmed when you see LCSO Deputies enter local restaurants. We’re not there to enforce the Governor’s mandate. We’re there to grab and support our local businesses!”
saying, “For local law enforcement: where you are also — it’s bad enough that you won’t help us cite folks who aren’t wearing masks and organizations and businesses and restaurants following public health orders — if you are violating a public health order, there are civil and criminal tools at our disposal. And local law enforcement — including the sheriffs who have been posting photos of themselves eating returns — should expect to be cited as such and to be held accountable.”
Balderas’ lawsuit reads, “Despite the spike in new cases, Respondent Corey Helton, the Sheriff of Lea County, and his deputies have requested that restaurants open their facilities in violation of the State’s public health emergency orders. According to television reports, the Sheriff’s Office patronized local restaurants that have opened despite public health orders, and that are operating without a valid food service permit.”
“Therefore, the State, through its Attorney General, petitions the Court for a writ of mandamus, directing Sheriff Helton and LCSO to cease violating the State’s executive and public health emergency orders, including by issuing orders to city businesses that countermand state law,” it continues.
The suit also lists two local restaurants that have had their food license suspended, and the coordinated effort between the Governor and the Attorney General appears to be a targeted campaign against the people of rural New Mexico — specifically Hobbs. Lujan Grisham berated a Hobbs business in her weekly presser, even going after the workers at the restaurant, claiming they were not wearing masks. “Those workers” in the photo “are not wearing masks. You cannot tell, but I can tell,” she said in a paranoid tone.