Dear Billy T and Somerville/Medford News Weekly Speakup Line,
The Somerville MA City Council plans to attempt to have the Somerville Police Dept issue $300 tickets for not wearing a face covering, an edict that isn’t legal anyway.
What happens when the person refuses to identify him or herself to be cited?
1) it’s not enforceable and 2) even if they claimed it was (which they are) there’s no requirement for an offender to produce any type of identification, whether verbal or hard copy. They could literally just walk away.
This is going to put our great, hard working police officers into potentially volatile and violent situations where they didn’t need to be in the first place and also take them away from actual police work that protects us.
Stop wasting the police department’s time and let them handle the real crimes in the city.
But here’s the reality of why this is memo or whatever it is (it’s not a law or local ordinance because those are two specific hinge that have actual levels of approval to be sought) is not reality:
If you fare evade on the MBTA and refuse to identify to a police officer upon request, you are subject to arrest under MGL 159 Section 101.
As the Mayor said, this violation of not wearing a face covering is like a speeding ticket. MGL Chapter 90 Section 25 provides the right of arrest to any police officer stopping an individual for a motor vehicle violation who, upon request, refuses to identify him or herself.
So, to the Somerville City Councilors who will see this, I ask you all: what happens when someone refuses to identify to be issued a citation?
While this may be directed at some of my close personal friends, it isn’t personal.
Government is meant to be questioned and called out when it’s not right.
We don’t always have to agree and we can freely speak our minds.
That’s what makes this the greatest country in the world.
But I ask you, think about what I’ve mentioned. I wear a mask. My family also does.
While I believe mandating them is up for legal debate, how can it be enforced? It can’t.
Stay home if possible. If you have to be out, please wear a mask. Private establishments can require them and you would have to abide by their rules.
Municipalities cannot enforce a face covering order because, above all, we have rights and there’s no teeth to any of these orders. It’s not a law, it’s not a home rule petition. It’s common sense, but still not something the government can order.
Wear something over your face to be a good human, even though the government can not enforce a contrary action.