90 percent of Americans presently live under stay at home orders. Nearly half of the global population, approximately 4 billion people, are quarantined by their governments in an effort to stem the the spread of covid-19. Only 2 months ago, Ohio had its first close encounter with the novel coronavirus.
Now, the state counts almost 3,000 confirmed cases of covid-19, with 81 deaths. In response, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued an executive order telling Ohioans to stay at home and leave only for essential reasons.
While most police departments opt for education over enforcement, they reserve the right to issue citations and make arrests. For example, in Arizona, the attorney general wrote an opinion stating police could enforce city and state official orders to stay at home. Though, law enforcement there states they reserve penalties for only the most egregious offenders.
In Columbus, police encountered their first example of such offense. After an interaction with police, 29-year-old Ahmed M. Ali faces charges of violating a health order, as well as inducing panic.
Violation of Stay at Home Order Results in Misdemeanor
The incident began Tuesday evening when police responded to a call around 4:25 pm. A ShotSpotter gunshot detection alert drew them to the intersection of South Terrace Ave and Olive St, reports the Columbus Dispatch.
There, three suspects allegedly were spotted walking out of a convenience store. Police officers approached them and discovered a loaded pistol tucked into Ali’s waistband.
When officers attempted to arrest Ali, he claimed to have covid-19. When asked for his purpose for travel, he failed to provide an essential reason.
Officers used vital protection gear to apprehend Ali. Subsequently, authorities found Ali lied about carrying the virus. As a result, he faces misdemeanor charges.
City Attorney Zach Klein stated his office intends to prosecute those that pretend to exhibit symptoms in an attempt to avoid arrest.