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Athens-Clarke police chief orders officers to cite violators of COVID-19 stay-at-home order

Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Cleveland Spruill

By Joe Johnson

Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Cleveland Spruill recently directed officers to cite several people for violating the state’s emergency shelter-in-place order that is meant to curb the spread of the highly-infectious coronavirus that causes the deadly COVID-19 disease.

According to a police report, at about 4:40 p.m. Thursday Spruill was with one of his deputy chiefs outside a residence in the 300 block of Arch Street, where the chief had earlier reminded people gathered at the residence about the emergency order, according to the report.

Spruill called on officers to respond and issue citations because the same people had returned to the residence after being previously warned, according to the police report.

“It is a constant build-up of people in the yard, in violation of the shelter-in-place order issued by (Gov. Brian Kemp),” the report noted 

The governor’s order is to remain in effect through the end of this month, unless extended.

Of the people who congregated at the Arch Street residence, men aged 18, 37 and 38 were issued citations, and a 32-year-old man was issued a warning, according to the report.

“These subjects were all advised that they were not to return to the residence, and if they did they could be taken to jail,” the police report noted.

The owners of the residence were told that “it was their responsibility to keep people away from the property because they will be cited as well,” according to the report.

A shelter-in-place order violation is a misdemeanor that is punishable by a maximum of a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

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