Orange County, CA Sheriff Don Barnes is fighting back against an order from a local Superior Court judge who ordered the release of 1,800 inmates. Some of these inmates are in prison on charges of murder and child molestation. The order was designed to help achieve social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“I have no intention of doing that, of releasing those individuals back into the community. I think they pose a serious threat,” Barnes said on “Fox & Friends.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit in April to try to protect medically vulnerable and disabled people at Orange County Jail.
“We’ve released 1,400 inmates to date since March for low-level offenders. The only inmates remaining now are serious offenders,” Barnes said. “Of the medically vulnerable, 90 of them are in custody for murder or attempted murder, 94 for child molestation.”
According to KCBS-TV of Los Angeles, Judge Peter Wilson ripped Barnes in the order, saying Barnes’, “deliberate indifference to the substantial risk of serious harm from COVID-19 infection to … medically vulnerable people in custody violates their rights.”
Barnes plans to appeal the court order.
“Everybody in the community is at risk of COVID right now,” Barnes said. “Not considering the risk to the public they present by being released back into the community, I think is not only absurd, I think it places the community at significant risk.”