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Update: Police close Elkhorn City Dollar General for not following social distancing guidelines

(WYMT)
Published: Apr. 27, 2020 at 9:08 PM EDT
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Update 4/30/2020

On Thursday we learned that Elkhorn City's Police Chief Bobby Sexton has a civil rights complaint filed against him.

The complaint was filed by a former federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney's Office.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office said they are currently reviewing the complaint, but could not provide further details.

The

  reports the complaint stems from the two citations Sexton issued last week against two people who reportedly failed to comply with social distancing rules at a Dollar General.

The original story is below.

Update 4/28/2020

After closing its doors early Monday night, Dollar General in Elkhorn City is back to business as usual. But according to one man who was on-site during the closing, some people are concerned about what happened.

"This is a very small community and none of the other stores has been harassed like this store has been," said the man. "You can go to the Velocity and the parking lot's slap full of people. There's no guidelines inside to keep people separated by six foot and there's nothing said to them about it."

Police Chief Bobby Sexton said he is using the same approach with every business, adding that he has given Dollar General around 15 warnings.

He said he tried to give them an opportunity to place someone by the door to keep things in order Monday night. But he was told that the store did not have the manpower.

"We understand the hardship that is brought upon the businesses in Elkhorn City. And we're not here to make things harder," said Sexton. "But, again, as a civic duty and as a first responder, it is my duty to do what you pay me to do and that's to keep you safe.'"

He said the customers at the store had been warned before, so he wrote them a citation for violating the executive orders. While speaking to the couple, Sexton said one of the store employees became "irate."

"Telling me that they- meaning her and employees- were tired of being harassed," said Sexton.

After the conversation, Sexton said everyone exited the building and the doors were closed.

The man who was at the store said he felt that it was all an overreaction.

"Let the people that's doing their job do their job. I think it's a little bit of harassment," said the man.

According to Sexton, a lot of misunderstanding has stemmed from the incident.

"Their district manager was telling them to do something opposite of what we were telling them to do," Sexton said. "I think people are confusing. This is not a political thing we're doing. This is a safety issue that relies on the first responders and police department to be able to enforce if people do not adhere to it.

And he hopes to see the community grow in understanding as the pandemic continues.

"Two hundred deaths. To me, at that point, if that doesn't scare you, open your eyes, and make you want to follow the guidelines, then it's a blatant disregard for the safety of the community," Sexton said.

Original Story 4/27/2020

Elkhorn City Police Chief Bobby Sexton said police were present at the Dollar General store Monday night.

Sexton said the store has not been following proper social distancing measures taken by the city and is now being told to close.

One worker has been cited to court and one customer is going to be cited for not adhering to the guidelines.

The police chief added that the department is taking the pandemic seriously and doing what it has to in order to keep the community safe and avoid the spread of COVID-19.

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