Karl Manke, a Michigan barber who is facing punishment for opening up his business amid Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus lockdown order, was awarded a win Monday by a state judge.
Shiawassee County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Stewart denied a request from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel for a temporary restraining order preventing Manke from opening his business, The Detroit News reported.
Nessel, a Democrat, had asked the judge to impose the restraining order on the 77-year-old barber, but Stewart declined, which means Manke will continue to cut hair and trim beards and mustaches.
“I’m gonna stay open till Jesus comes,” the barber said at a news conference outside his Owosso barbershop.
“I feel the governor is not my mother. Never has been,” Manke said of Whitmer and other officials who have demanded businesses they deem nonessential to remain closed until the end of the month.
“As a matter of fact, this administration, for the most part, I’ve been in business longer than they’ve been alive,” Manke said.
Judge denies attorney general’s demand to shut down Owosso barber shop https://t.co/zblTQMWu7x
— The Flint Journal (@flintjournal) May 11, 2020
The Detroit News reported Manke could still face punishment for operating his business.
Police cited him last week for opening up; he faces two misdemeanors with a $1,000 fine and is expected to appear in court June 23.
But Manke’s attorney said he is working to resolve those charges.
“We’re going to have to deal with those,” attorney David Kallman said. “We’ll be filing motions to dismiss those cases also.”
“I’ll be open until Jesus walks in or until they arrest me,” he told MLive.
Manke has been in business since 1961 but closed up shop March 23, along with many other business owners, upon orders from Whitmer.
“I don’t need the governor to be my mother,” Manke said of the decision to reopen. “I can take care of myself and run my own business the way I feel that I need to run it.”
Manke said he remained closed as long as possible, but it became apparent a week ago he wouldn’t be able to bear the financial burden of Whitmer’s order.
“When [the lockdown order was extended to] the 28th of May, it just killed me,” he told MLive. “I just went to my knees. I collapsed. I just couldn’t do it. I cannot go without income that period of time.”
“That could be when Jesus comes,” he added. “It’s something that’s going to be with us for a while.”
Manke also made it clear that he did not want to be viewed as a symbol of rebellion; he just needed to earn a living.
“I’m not a scofflaw. I don’t want to appear like I’m this rebel lawbreaker,” the barber said.
“It was something that I have to do,” he said.
Manke’s attorney also clarified that his client just wants to earn his living and will leave the politics up to other people.
“Karl has made it clear,” Kallman told The Detroit News. “He has no animus toward anyone — the governor, the attorney general — he just wants to work, and he wants to do it in a safe responsible way.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.