A 77-year-old Michigan barber said he won’t stop working “unless he is tasered by the police or Jesus Christ himself walks in” and will continue defying Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders.
Karl Manke, owner of Karl Manke’s Barber & Beauty Shop in Owosso, has remained open despite the stay-at-home order.
Manke told ABC 12 he reopened after unemployment benefits were denied three times.
He has been cited for violating the shutdown order, and supporters have stepped up to pay the fines.
On Friday, state police showed up with an order from Whitmer’s administration to close.
“Today Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon acted under the authority granted to him by state law to issue an order that is necessary to correct conditions that pose an imminent threat to the health or lives of people in Michigan,” the department said in a statement to NBC 25.
“The order requires Karl Manke’s Barbershop in Shiawassee County, which overtly defied Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order, to immediately close to the public.”
Despite the legal threats, Manke vowed to stay open as long as he can.
“Whatever way it is, they’re going to have to drag me kicking and screaming out of this building,” he told ABC 12.
“If the barbershop does not comply with the order, the state will ask a judge in Shiawassee Circuit Court to issue a temporary restraining order,” the department said. “If such an order is issued and the barbershop owner fails to comply, he can be held in contempt of court.”
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel also weighed in:
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. 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.
“I just couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do that,” Manke told radio host Steve Gruber about continuing to work.
“I don’t care really if I have to spend all of the money I’m making right now to pay my fine, it’s worth it,” he said.
He said he will only leave “if they drag me out in the street or Jesus comes.”
Manke said he has fielded calls from other barbers about what to do.
“You have to have courage,” he said.
Manke’s attorney, Bill Amadeo, told The Argus-Press that his client would be seeking a jury trial.
Amadeo said Manke would be pleading “not guilty” during a June 6th court hearing.