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El Paso police refuse to enforce county judge’s order limiting business due to virus outbreak

El Paso Police Car
An El Paso Police Department squad car is seen in this file photo.

EL PASO, Texas -- A police spokesman said Friday that the El Paso Police Department would not be enforcing an order issued by County Judge Ricardo Samaniego restricting business operations to essential services only.

Samaniego said he issued Thursday evening's order in the hopes of containing the spread of Covid-19 throughout El Paso, which has seen record numbers of infections and overloaded hospitals in recent days.

Sgt. Enrique Carillo cited an advisory opinion issued by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that contends the judge's order is "unenforceable" because it conflicts with prior directives from the governor.

The AG's opinion - issued hours after Samaniego imposed his order Thursday evening - was done at the request of Mayor Dee Margo, who is publicly feuding with the judge over the added restrictions.

Paxton's opinion advised that the judge should "rescind or revise his order" or face a potential lawsuit from the state. Samaniego on Friday rejected Paxton's view as purely his opinion and said he was confident a court of law would side with the county.

Citing the attorney general's views, Carillo said, "As such, the El Paso Police Department will not be enforcing the El Paso County Judge's order."

But the El Paso County Sheriff's Office said it would operate separately under guidance from the county attorney, suggesting it could seek to enforce the order.

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.



    1. Businesses like restaurants can be open, but if people are afraid to come out to eat in them, what do we do then? That’s exactly what’s going on right now according to bar & restaurant owners I know.

  1. Damn I love our police force. They don’t have to follow illegal orders. And the fool judge knows it. He has no power to enforce nonexistent laws, period.

  2. He has no authority to order that but even if he did what a devastating senseless order that would be. A 2 week shutdown (partial) and a 2 week curfew has zero chance to make any kind of a difference. Why would he want to damage El Paso so much with something that is only symbolic? Very sad times.

  3. Same idiots here that want the police to enforce this unconstitutional mandate are the ones bashing the police every time they enforce a real law.

    You are scared stay in your basement like Biden, we will tell you when it’s safe to come out. Let us live.

    1. Nobody here is bashing anyone. Especially not the police. We should all be bashing the one responsible and that’s exactly what the voters are doing as we speak.

      1. Yes. We should all be bashing lying biden. But he doesn’t know if he is running for senator, or against Bush. He doesn’t even know where the hell he is. Neither is camel la la. She had to ask her aid and I quote: “Where are we?” when she was in Virginia. The state of the demoKKKrat party. Lost.

  4. Samaniego is in the wrong legally. He should have consulted with Abbott before acting unilaterally. Of all the Republican Governors, Abbott has shown more judgement and reliance on science. The orange buffoon and his decision to ignore our own intel agencies in January are where the blame lays. We still have no nationwide plan to deal with this virus. Two local officials bickering like children isn’t going to help the situation.

  5. The police and the sheriff haven’t “refused” anything. They’re position is that they will wait until a final legal opinion is issued before doing anything.

  6. Businesses like restaurants can be open, but if people are afraid to come out to eat in them, what do we do then? That’s exactly what’s going on right now according to bar & restaurant owners I know.

  7. Outstanding! EPPD getting it correct, getting it RIGHT.

    Thank GAWD there’s some sanity left in this city.

    Democrats are an existential threat. End them.

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