Group of Guthrie citizens hit city with a lawsuit over Covid-19 ordinance

Coronavirus

GUTHRIE, Okla. (KFOR) – The City of Guthrie is headed to federal court after ten citizens say the ‘Shelter in Place’ order goes against the Constitution.

“It just got to the point where people were fed up with what was going on,” said Oklahoma City Attorney Frank Urbanic.

A group of Guthrie residents slapped the city with a federal lawsuit on Thursdays, saying the city’s ‘Shelter in Place’ order infringes on their constitutional rights.

“Multiple violations of the Constitution. Multiple violations of Oklahoma law,” Urbanic said. “Why can’t somebody go and stand six feet away from somebody at a grocery store, but they can’t stand six feet away from somebody in a church?”

Urbanic says his clients just want the ordinance to go away.

Guthrie’s ‘Shelter in Place’ order is in place until May 5, with hopes of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Guthrie is also one of the cities requiring community members to wear cloth masks while out in public.

One of the residents involved in the lawsuit said she didn’t want to go on camera because she has received threats to both herself and even her animals.

“It’s just very frustrating to them. They can see some behavior that equally impacts the community being legal and then behavior that is for purposes of worship is illegal,” Urbanic said.

Defendants listed in the lawsuit include the City of Guthrie, members of the Guthrie City Council, the mayor, chief of police and city attorneys.

Urbanic asked his clients to not talk to us until after they meet with a judge next week, but he says he thinks the law will be on their side.

“Public safety is paramount, but that doesn’t give local governments the blank check to write any laws that they want.” Urbanic said.

We have left messages for comment from both the city manager’s office, the mayor and also the police department. So far, we haven’t heard back.

Urbanic says there is a hearing set for 11 a.m. on Monday.

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