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The Michigan militia is standing behind a barber who has openly defied Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus shutdown order.
Supporters gathered outside Karl Manke’s barbershop over the weekend and members of the militia vowed to keep him from getting arrested by blocking the entrance after the 77-year-old was issued two citations for reopening his business against state orders.
“We are here to make sure he doesn’t get arrested,” Daniel Brewer told WEYI-TV. “We’re willing to stand in front of that door and block the entrance so the police will have no entry there today.”
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office sees Manke’s barbershop, which he has operated since 1961, as a danger to the public and had Michigan State Police issue the business owner a health protection order last week, according to WEYI.
Manke reopened his Owosso shop last Monday and was inundated with customers that first day. By the end of the week, he had received two citations and is due in court on June 6.
“Yesterday six troopers came in to enforce the governor’s order or to issue a cease or desist order so we are here to make sure he doesn’t get arrested,” Brewer told WEYI on Saturday. “We’re willing to stand in front of that door and block the entrance so the police will have no entry there today.”
Whitmer signed an executive order last week extending the state’s stay-at-home order until the end of May. That move followed on the heels of a lawsuit filed by state lawmakers against the Democrat governor’s overreach which has already sparked multiple protests in the state.
The updated order prevents Michigan residents from leaving their homes except “to run critical errands, to engage in safe outdoor activities or go to specified jobs.”
“I’m not trying to be a scofflaw. I’m trying to make a living,” Manke told WEYI. “I tried for the unemployment. I was denied twice on unemployment. I haven’t seen anything in one these other checks from the government.”
He told the Detroit Free Press last week that Whitmer “is not my mother” and “I just made an adult decision that I was gonna open up.”
(Source: Detroit Free Press)
The director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services told WEYI in a statement that “people continue to die in our state every day due to the coronavirus.”
“It is critically important for businesses and the general public to follow the executive order to reduce further spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” Robert Gordon said.
Nessel’s order, according to WEYI, said that Manke “was given every opportunity to voluntarily comply” with orders and his business “was deemed an imminent danger to the public health and ordered to be shut down by the DHHS Director.”
“If he refuses, the Department of Attorney General will request an order from the Shiawassee County Circuit Court on Monday to close his business,” the statement read. “Mr. Manke’s actions are not a display of harmless civil disobedience. His actions are counterproductive to the collective effort businesses and communities everywhere have made to slow the spread of COVID-19, and by opening the doors to his business, he’s putting the lives of many more Michiganders at risk.”
“March 21st was the last day that I had worked,” Manke said on “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Sunday, adding that Whitmer’s order extending the shutdown for nonessential workers “just absolutely brought me to my knees.”
“The indication was it would be a couple of weeks,” he added. “And I’m not fine with that, but a lot of the other businesses were still staying open.”
(Source: Fox News)
Some businesses were “deemed essential or nonessential by some call. I’m not sure what that was based on,” he said, citing gas stations and stores such as Walmart.
“But then a couple of weeks went by, and then they extended it for another couple of weeks,” Manke said. “And it was about April 30th [when] the legislative branch of our state had decided that the governor was out of order, that she had used up her 28 days and that she could no longer initiate that type of an order. So I planned to go back to work.”
Whitmer was aksed about Manke and told reporters the measures were in place to save lives, including that of the barbershop owner.
Manke, who has been following sanitary measures and wears a mask when cutting hair, has been flooded with business and support as customers have been traveling miles to get to his shop.
“Obviously she has no concept at all,” he said of the governor, “the damage that she’s doing to our state and to families.”
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