Armed ‘vigilantes’ in Maine create roadblock to quarantine drivers with out-of-state plates in coronavirus panic – The Sun
Police confirmed they were called to the island of Vinalhaven, Maine, after reports of “several people with guns” threatening a man.
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The victim had left his home to see why his cable service was down and was confronted by the “vigilantes”.
Knox County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the armed group took it upon themselves to enforce a quarantine on the group from out-of-state.
It is believed the men were targeted because of their vehicle's license plate after coming to the island from New Jersey.
The US has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world, with almost 141,000 people infected and more than 2,400 deaths.
Tensions continue to simmer as people nationwide are placed on lockdown and travel bans are imposed for some states.
Law enforcement said the three construction workers were targeted by vigilantes after they arrived 30 days ago – while the current travel advice is just a two week quarantine.
The group cut down a tree and dragged it into Cripple Creek Lane they feared the men may have Covid-19.
One of the men then left the property to check on the cable and was confronted by the group, who told him to get back into quarantine.
The three men then used a drone to monitor the vigilantes at the end of their road until the police arrived after the incident on Friday, March 27 at 3.35pm.
Police said once they arrived the group had dispersed, but it was apparent the tree had been dragged to block the road.
Cops discovered some local residents believed the men were supposed to be in quarantine.
Sheriff’s office officials said they believe this was a direct threat to the individuals and do not feel there is a wider risk to the public.
However, they urged people not to take the law into their own hands in a statement issued on Saturday.
It said: “We are concerned that some believe that anyone from out of the state is potentially infected and needs to be quarantined.
“Whether someone is a Maine resident or not, they have the right to free movement and anyone who infringes upon that free movement is potentially violating the law.”
'US VS THEM'
Deputies said they want everyone to be "safe and not overreact in this time of uncertainty as it could end poorly”.
Rep. Genevieve McDonald condemned the incident saying it was a “tremendous waste of resources” and “not something to be celebrated”.
Writing on Facebook, she said: “A group of local vigilantes decided to take matters into their own hands, and barricade these guys into their rental property.”
She added: “Now is not the time to develop or encourage an 'us vs. them' mentality.
"Targeting people because of their license plates will not serve any of us well.
“Every person, whether local or from away, who leaves the island and comes back puts their community at risk.
“Except for in the most extreme circumstances, we do not have the authority to control the movement of US citizens within our borders, and frankly, I'm concerned about the number of people who are eager to hand their rights over to the government.
“Stay home, wash your hands, don't talk to strangers, and don't waste the time of our first responders.”
Maine has 253 confirmed cases of coronavirus, but only three people have died in the state.
New York remains the epicenter of the outbreak, but experts have warned the number of cases will climb into the millions in America.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned the nation faces up to 200,000 deaths based on “what we’re seeing now”’.
However, he added: "I just don't think that we really need to make a projection when it's such a moving target."
He said the US can expect the final case numbers to be in the “millions” when the pandemic finally is brought under control.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has extended “stay at home” rules until at least the end of April as he warned the peak of the outbreak will hit around Easter.
The President also accused some states of “hoarding” medical supplies as fears loom over hospitals being overwhelmed with patients while under-supplied with key pieces of equipment such as ventilators.
Meanwhile, around 5,000 New York police officers are out sick amid fears of disorder due to the pandemic.
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