9 in RI sue Raimondo, claim COVID-19 restrictions violate their rights as citizens

Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Gov. Gina Raimondo announced new restrictions in Rhode Island during her briefing on Thursday to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Restrictions started being imposed back in the spring when the goal was to flatten the curve and now some Rhode Islanders are saying “enough.”

A group of 10 Rhode Islanders claim Raimondo’s restrictions violate their rights as citizens so now they are suing her. The lawsuit claims that this is an “act of domestic terrorism” and a “deprivation of rights,” claiming that the Patriot Act is of question here.

The lead name on the document is Peter Chafee Card Jr. of Middletown. The other eight are Mark Hamilton, Karl Berroth, and Stacey Sanbergare, who are listed as the same address as him, as well as Phil Ponte, of Portsmouth; and four Woonsocket residents: Jay Casey, Julie Girard, Jacob Beausoleil and Brittany Taft.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court on Wednesday.

In the lawsuit, they claim the measures Raimondo has taken during the pandemic are a “deprivation of privacy” by being required to get a test for the virus, and then claiming they’re a victim of fraud because the test is of “doubtful accuracy.”

They also say they are “denied air of best quality” by being required to wear face masks at work.

Other complaints listed include denial of freedom of assembly, because of events being canceled due to fear of the virus, including the cancelation of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Newport.

Card also listed the missed time and activity at his church and the denied opportunity to minister to assigned members of his church at an assisted living facility.

At Thursday’s briefing, Raimondo talked about the challenge of people not complying with state laws.

“There’s fatigue, there’s no doubt about it. There’s fatigue. We have been grinding this out for seven months,” she said. “The problem is it’s a brutal reality, if you don’t follow the rules, bad things happen. People die. More people lose their jobs.”

The group is asking the court to order a cease and desist on these mandates and requirements saying in part, “Your orders and those that follow from these orders issued in violation of the State Constitution, are illegal and unenforceable. I hereby demand that you immediately cease and desist in your suspension of my Constitutional rights and those of the common citizenry.”

Card is also asking the court to issue a cease and desist order ending the state of emergency that was declared by the state because of the pandemic.

The R.I. Department of Health currently has Rhode Island in a state of emergency through Nov. 2.

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