Florida pastor arrested after violating coronavirus orders

Coronavirus

TAMPA BAY, FL (WFLA) – A Tampa Bay area pastor has been arrested following two large services at his church over the weekend.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister says he has made the decision Sunday night to seek an arrest warrant against the pastor of River at Tampa Bay Church for violating social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The sheriff confirmed in a tweet Monday afternoon that Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne had been arrested.

Sheriff Chronister says Howard-Browne “repeatedly” violated social distancing orders from the president, CDC and local authorities.

“His reckless disregard for human life put hundreds of people in his congregation at risk and thousands of residents who may interact with them this week in danger,” the sheriff said.

According to Sheriff Chronister, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has been in contact with leaders at the church since last Friday. The sheriff says his office received a tip that the church pastor was refusing to stop holding large services and was instead encouraging his congregation to meet in person at the church.

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