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Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney says recall petitions ‘political’

Sheriff Fortney (KIRO Radio, Hanna Scott)

There are two recall petitions filed against Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney. In a somewhat cryptic Facebook message on Friday, the Snohomish County sheriff said that he was going to announce a campaign to protect the sheriff’s office from political assault. He joined the Jason Rantz Show to discuss.

“I didn’t expect to be campaigning already, but after Friday’s decision, pretty much we’re going full-blown into campaign mode. I think there’s still a long road ahead for the petitioner to get that many signatures, but I can’t sit back and wait,” he said.

“We’re going to push back against her narrative, I don’t want it out there because it’s not accurate and there’s always two sides to the story,” he added.

Lori Shavlik started the first recall petition, and in an interview with Q13 said, “I guess the clearest message that I could send is that it’s not his choice. He was put there to follow the law and enforce it, not to create it.”

About a month ago, Fortney wrote a Facebook post in which he essentially said that he viewed the governor’s stay-at-home order as unconstitutional and would not be enforcing it.

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Shavlik is saying the he doesn’t get to decide what laws he enforces. What’s his response to this?

“It’s about discretion and enforcement. Cops on the street, administrators — we have discretion in every decision we make all day long, every day in police work. It’s absolutely my discretion if I want deputy sheriffs going around Snohomish County and arresting residents for violating the stay-at-home order,” he said.

“I have simply chosen not to and I think that’s the right call.”

Fortney argues that Inslee’s orders show a massive disconnect considering how many inmates have been let out of jail during the coronavirus pandemic for committing worse crimes.

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“The governor’s letting 1,000 prisoners out of the state prison system. The courts aren’t keeping people in county jails, and then are they really telling me that they want me to start locking up people for this for violating this order?”

“It makes no sense on its face, … this is all 100% political.”

Has Fortney been given any directives from either the governor’s office or the attorney general’s office on how to manage his role as sheriff regarding the stay-at-home order?

“Absolutely. Believe it or not, I’m in line with what the governor wants,” he said. “He does not want local law enforcement out there arresting people for this, so actually, I’m right in line with it.”

“The problem with it is I just said it very publicly, and I kind of took a shot at him, if you will, about his lack of planning for this whole thing.”

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