In her address to Michigan citizens on May 7, Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer revealed that she would be extending the lockdown on Michigan residents through May 28. While the iron-fisted governor loosened her restrictions on outdoor businesses, the purchase of non-essential items, and travel between private residences, she added a new order that forces anyone in an enclosed public space to wear a face covering.
Last week, a 43-year-old father of nine and Family Dollar Store security guard Calvin James Munerlyn, lost his life trying to uphold Governor Whitmer’s controversial face-covering executive order. Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said Munerlyn’s shooting came as the result of a dispute over a woman not wearing a mask in the store.
Last week, we reported about a small business owner in Owosso, Michigan, a small community in Shiawassee County, who defied his state’s executive order and opened his barber and beauty shop to the public.
WLNS reports- Karl Manke’s Barber and Beauty Shop has been in the Owosso community since 1961, and this week the owner decided to open the doors again, despite state orders to remain closed.
After being denied twice by unemployment, Karl Manke said he had enough.
“The governor decided she was going to go another two weeks, and then another two weeks, and now this last time when she said we weren’t going to come back May 1st, that we were going to be secluded here until the 28th– it brought me to my knees.,” Manke said.
Karl says support has come from all over.
“I had a policeman stop by this morning, and I thought, okay here it is—it’s done. He said, ‘I love you,’ and walked out,” Manke said.
Yesterday, as Manke addressed a crowd of suppporters, he was at times drowned out by the honks of passing vehicles and affirmations from the crowd. A large truck parked nearby and several signs in the crowd bore messages criticizing Whitmer’s orders.
Manke promised to fight the restrictions on his business “until Jesus comes.”
Minutes later, his lawyer emerged from the Owosso barbershop to announce a development short of the Second Coming — a Shiawassee County Circuit judge had denied a request for a temporary restraining order from state Attorney General Dana Nessel that would have resulted in the barbershop’s immediate closure.
The order by Shiawassee County Circuit Judge Matthew Stewart came several hours after Nessel requested the judge issue a court order backing a Friday Michigan Department of Health and Human Services shutdown edict under the public health code for violating of Whitmer’s stay-home order.
“I feel the governor is not my mother, never has been,” Manke said. “As a matter of fact, this administration, for the most part, I’ve been in business longer than they’ve been alive.”
Even with the dismissal, it’s possible Nessel could appeal the decision, and Manke still faces separate criminal misdemeanor charges for his continued operation.
Owosso police last week cited Manke for a civil infraction and two misdemeanors. A court date is set for June 23, and he faces a more than $1,000 fine.
Governor Whitmer has made it clear that Manke will face the consequences for defying her order.
In a Monday news conference in Lansing, Whitmer warned that her executive orders carry the force of law. There are quite a few novel coronavirus cases in Shiawassee County, she said, and the hospital system is concerned.
Through Monday, the county had accumulated 211 cases and 17 deaths since the first COVID-19 cases were reported statewide more than two months ago. Michigan has more than 47,550 cases and nearly 4,600 deaths.
With roughly 15,000 residents, Owosso is the largest city in the mostly rural Shiawassee County. The population density in Shiawassee County is a tenth that of Oakland County, one of the hardest-hit counties in Michigan and roughly 20 miles southeast of Shiawassee County.
“Most businesses in the state have a license that is granted from the state, and they are putting themselves at risk by putting their customers and themselves at risk by opening prematurely,” Whitmer said.
Now, the Shiawassee County Sheriff is weighing in, as he announced yesterday, that he will not enforce Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders.
The Hill reports – Shiawassee County Sheriff Brian BeGole said in a written statement that he decided to share his office’s position on the governor’s executive orders after receiving “many calls” from local residents and businesses on the matter and “especially since the Michigan Legislature did not extend the state of emergency beyond April 30 as required by law.”
“The legality of that is a judicial branch determination,” BeGole said, noting his office’s “responsibility to serve and protect the citizens of Shiawassee County and to ensure their rights as described in both state and federal Constitution.”
“With limited resources, staffing and facilities, our priority focus will be on enforcing duly passed laws for the protection of Shiawassee County citizens,” he added. “I have decided, within my authority, that our office cannot and will not divert our primary resources and efforts towards enforcement of Governor Whitmer’s executive orders.”
The move comes about a week after two county sheriffs in Arizona said they would not enforce Gov. Doug Ducey’s (R-Ariz.) stay-at-home order, citing the Constitution, and days after a California sheriff said he would not enforce similar coronavirus measures in the state because it was “time to get back opening up.”
Sheriff BeGole joins four other sheriffs from northern Michigan who announced on April 15 that they would not enforce Whitmer’s executive orders.
“We write today to inform the public for our respective counties of our opposition to some of Governor Whitmer’s executive orders,” the sheriffs said in a press release.
“While we understand her desire to protect the public, we question some restrictions that she has imposed as overstepping her executive authority,” the sheriffs wrote. “She has created a vague framework of emergency laws that only confuse Michigan citizens.”
The sheriffs said they will instead “deal with every case as an individual situation and apply common sense.”
“Each of us took an oath to uphold and defend the Michigan Constitution, as well as the US Constitution, and to ensure that your God-given rights are not violated,” the statement reads. “We believe that we are the last line of defense in protecting your civil liberties.”
“Our focus needs to be on reopening our counties and getting people back to work. We also need to be aware that this virus is deadly and that we need to continue to practice social distancing, washing of hands, wearing of masks as well as other medically recommended measures,” they said.
“Together, as a community, we will overcome this pandemic, and as Americans, we will persevere and come out stronger than before. As sheriffs of your community, we want you to know we have your back and will continue to serve the people who have entrusted us with your protection.”
There’s a movement across America of business owners, and law enforcement officers who are standing up to overreaching governors who they claim are ignoring the constitutional rights of Americans with their executive orders. Every day, there are more and more reports of businesses opening despite executive orders prohibiting them from doing so.