Michigan barber says he'll fight $9,000 in 'draconian' fines for staying open during pandemic lockdown

A Michigan barber who defied state lockdown orders last spring has been hit with $ 9,000 in fines for civil violations including carrying a comb in his pocket.

Karl Manke, who reopened his Owosso barbershop in May in defiance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus lockdown orders, is being fined for sanitation violations and cutting hair at the Michigan State Capitol protest.

Manke and his lawyer David Kallman joined “Fox & Friends” Tuesday to respond to the fines and discuss their plans to appeal.

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“Sixty years as a barber, he’s never had a complaint,” Kallman told co-host Steve Doocy. “I mean, the unfairness of this is breathtaking and we’re going to fight it. We’re going to appeal to the court immediately. We’re going to get into a real court and we’ll see what they say about it.”

Kallman says $ 6,000 of the fine is directed at Manke’s participation in the May protest against Whitmer’s executive orders, which were ruled constitutional by Michigan’s Supreme Court in October.

Manke told Doocy he’s not going to pay the money and accused the state of trying to “intimidate” him with the fines.

“We only have a limited amount of funds,” Manke said. “They know they can break us, so they intimidate the citizens using this particular type of draconian power… It’s unconstitutional. It’s immoral. It’s draconian. I can’t find enough adjectives to describe this administration that we have here in Michigan right now.”

Michigan dropped its lawsuit against Manke in June after the state Supreme Court sided with the 77-year-old barber for refusing to close his shop.

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Manke thanked his supporters and credited GoFundMe donations for keeping him out of jail. When asked if he’d do it again, Manke said he would in a “heartbeat.”

“Someone coined me as America’s barber. I like that because I’m an American and I’m a barber, you know, and I can stand up against this particular type of tyranny.”

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Kallman concluded: “I think people need to understand the virus is real, there are issues, people should use common sense. But that doesn’t mean the state can trample our civil rights, trample on the Constitution and do it in an illegal way. And that’s what’s been happening here in our state. And people need to wake up and stand up and push back on these sorts of activities.”


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