"We're hoping that this serves as a deterrent", Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said during a news conference Monday alongside State Attorney Andrew Warren. Bail was set at $500, according to the jail's website.
Pastor Browne bragged during the service that River Church would remain open for the duration. but TMZ has learned the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Dept. now has a warrant for the Pastor's arrest. We are hopeful that this will be a wake up call for him, his legal staff and his entire leadership at the church.
The local sheriff's office obtained an arrest warrant for the pastor after he violated the county order for residents to stay home to curb the coronavirus spread, the Tampa Bay Times reported Monday.
"Shame on this pastor, their legal staff and the leaders of this church for forcing us to do our job", Chronister said. Instead, the church, held two jam-packed services on Sunday. So far, ten counties, including the county in which River Church is located, have placed some restrictions and ordered non-essential businesses to close.
"It is important also for the religious community to govern themselves, according to the laws of the land, Scott said".
The county and governor's orders require gatherings, including those held by faith-based groups, be fewer than 10 people to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Howard-Browne also falsely claimed at the megachurch that the CDC had advanced knowledge of the coronavirus a year ago, citing an online conspiracy theory as proof.
A Tampa, Florida pastor held a Sunday service attended by hundreds of members of his congregation despite the area being under "safer at home" orders to slow the coronavirus pandemic.
In a video on Facebook on Sunday, Howard-Browne said "it looks like we're going to have to go to court over this because the church is encroached from every side". "The voice of the body of Christ", he said.
Howard-Browne-an ally of President Donald Trump-has been an outspoken opponent of social distancing requirements, claiming his church has machines that can stop the coronavirus and vowing to personally cure the state of Florida himself. She is also an unofficial spiritual advisor to the president.