Michigan judge dismisses charges against six hairstylists who defied Whitmer’s lockdown orders

A Michigan judge has tossed out charges leveled against six Michigan stylists who cut hair outside the state capitol in defiance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s pandemic lockdown orders.

The stylists were cited after taking part in a protest to support a colleague, Karl Manke of Owosso, who was targeted by the Democratic governor’s administration and local law enforcement for defying the order. 


Two of them — Angela Rigas and colorist Suzanne Dodoro — joined Manke and his attorney, David Kallman on Wednesday’s “Fox & Friends” morning show to react to the judge’s ruling.

To lead the segment, Manke was critical of other barbers who “were hiding behind their chairs” in refusing to participate in the “Operation Haircut” protest, while going on to thank the stylists who did show up.

(Source: Fox News)

“A lot of these beauticians came out and they had the tenacity to stand up, and I salute them for that,” Manke said.

Rigas then explained that she decided to take part in the protest because she believed that Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders shutting her business down were “unconstitutional.”

“We were certain at the time that her orders were unconstitutional, which we know later were ruled as such, as all her emergency orders after April 30 were thrown out,” said Rigas. 

“She needed approval” from the state legislature to extend her initial lockdown order but “she didn’t get it.” As such, Whitmer “acted alone, as usual, business as usual,” she added.

“We’d had enough and I’ve been in the liberty movement for over a decade and I used my skill” to defy the governor and protest by cutting hair the stylist explained.

Last spring, a state judge denied a motion filed by the state attorney general’s office to force Manke to close his barbershop after he defied Whitmer’s stay-at-home order. The ruling came as state Republican lawmakers filed their own legal action against Whitmer, claiming that under the law, she needed the legislature’s permission to extend her initial order past its 30-day deadline.

“I was out there for my fellow hairdressers, to support Karl, the one man that did stand up, and all the other businesses as well, all the entrepreneurs out there, everybody that just wanted to get back to work,” Dodoro added.

Kallman, who also represented the six hairstylists whose cases were dismissed, said that by taking part in Operation Haircut, they were “there exercising their right to free speech.”

“People need to understand they should not be scared or intimidated. We have our constitutional right to speak out in opposition,” Kallman added. “That’s all these folks did. It’s gratifying to see the court throw these cases out, uphold their right to speak out freely, and to do so without intimidation.”

He added that no one should be punished “for speaking out in opposition to a government policy.”

In May, following the state court’s ruling, Whitmer remained defiant and claimed she had the authority to extend her initial order without getting the Legislature’s permission.

“I expect people to follow the law. These executive orders are not a suggestion, they’re not optional, they’re not helpful hints, this is an order to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” she said.

She also lashed out at state Republicans for filing a lawsuit, calling it a “power grab.”

A state appeals court agreed with her in August, ruling 2-1 that a statewide emergency order “only ends upon the governor’s declaration that the emergency no longer exists.”

But in October, the state Supreme Court ruled definitively that Whitmer’s extended orders were clearly unconstitutional.

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Jon Dougherty

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