Royal Oak City Commissioner Kim Gibbs, who came under fire for attending a rally against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s restrictions amid the coronavirus outbreak, was busted for shoplifting at Meijer on Wednesday.
“She paid for about $45 worth of the items and not the others,” Royal Oak Police Chief Corrigan O’Donohue told The Royal Oak Tribune.
Police ticketed Gibbs for a misdemeanor violation of retail fraud but did not arrest her because of restrictions on the courts during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a statement to the media, Gibbs apologized for her actions and blamed the coronavirus restrictions on her lack of income.
“Recently, I had to choose between insulin and food, and I chose the insulin, which helps me stay alive; however, that left extraordinarily little money for food after paying for medical insurance and insulin,” she said.
Gibbs added, “Michiganders, and people around the country, are suffering with the economic and personal pain COVID has brought to every one of us. We need now, more than ever, to stand together as Americans and get back working so others do not face the same health consequences I am facing.”
According to Royal Oak's website, Gibbs is a real estate attorney. Last week, Gov. Whitmer signed an executive order allowing real estate work to resume on May 7.
Typically, city commissioners earn a nominal fee per meeting. Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier tells Metro Times that Royal Oak Commissioners make $20 per meeting. (He makes $40 per meeting.) Fournier says they meet roughly 30 times or so per year, and they do not get reimbursed for expenses.
The Royal Oak Commission censured Gibbs last week for attending the “Operation Gridlock” protest in Lansing on April 15, when she was spotted walking around without a mask. Protest organizers had urged demonstrators to stay in their cars, but many roamed around the Capitol anyway, defying social-distancing measures.
In a head-scratching interview with the Tribune, Gibbs declared, “In my eyes, the scare of the coronavirus is over.”
"I'm not a doctor, but my personal belief is that the people who got it, or are going to get it, have already gotten it, so let’s get back to work."
On Wednesday, Michigan reported 71 new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total to 4,250. While coronavirus cases and deaths have been decreasing in metro Detroit in recent weeks, they have increased in other parts of the state.
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