Michigan Barber Forced to Either Shut Down or Potentially Be ‘Held in Contempt of Court’ and Jailed

An Owosso, Mich. barber has been told by the state of Michigan that if he does not shut down his business that he will be likely be held in contempt of court.

The Michigan State Police came to 77-year-old Karl Manke’s barber shop on Friday and left a Health Protection Order there at the behest of state attorney general Dana Nessel. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has made it clear that Manke could be arrested if he does not shut down his business post haste.

“Michigan has had more than 45,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 4,300 deaths. Shiawassee County alone had had 201 cases and 16 deaths. 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,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Director Robert Gordon.

DHHS has made it clear that the state will ask a judge in Shiawassee Circuit Court for a temporary restraining order (TRO) if he does not shut his business down. If he does not comply with the TRO, he will likely be held in contempt of court and potentially jailed for trying to make a living.

“It is without question that we are in the middle of a public health crisis. Both the Governor, through her executive orders, and the DHHS Director, through his orders, are focused on protecting the public health of Michigan residents,” Nessel wrote.

“Based upon our present knowledge of COVID-19, businesses that require close contact – like Mr. Manke’s barbershop – present one of the highest risks for spreading the virus, not just to the City of Owosso, but to the State of Michigan as a whole. According to recent new stories, the shop has received visits from Ann Arbor, Saginaw, Detroit, Jackson and other areas,” she added.

The attorney general made it clear that actions like Manke’s will not be tolerated, and all Michigan residents must continue to live under shutdown conditions until Governor Gretchen Whitmer declares otherwise.

“Mr. Manke was given every opportunity to voluntarily comply with the Governor’s Executive Order and the order of the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services Director. As a result of his continued operation, today 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,” Nessel wrote.

“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,” she added.

Manke made it clear that his livelihood is on the line, and he cannot afford to sit at home any longer and lose the business.

“I’m not trying to be a scofflaw. I’m trying to make a living,” said Manke. “I tried for the unemployment. I was denied twice on unemployment. I haven’t seen anything in one these other checks from the government.”

Another protest is scheduled in Lansing at the State Capitol on Thursday, May 14 from 9 am to 1 m The humiliation of Manke, who has become a hero across the state, by Whitmer’s thugs may make this upcoming protest the largest thus far.