Armed militia vows to prevent police from shutting down Owosso barber shop

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Armed militia members are pledging to block police from forcing the closure of an Owosso barber shop that is open in defiance of the Michigan’s stay-at-home order.

State police have issued two citations to Karl Manke, a 77-year-old barber who refuses to close Karl Manke’s Barber & Beauty Shop.

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office plans to ask a Shiawassee County Circuit Court judge to issue a temporary restraining order Monday if Manke opens his shop.

"Yesterday six troopers came in to enforce the governor's order or to issue a cease-and-desist order so we are here to make sure he doesn't get arrested,” Owosso resident Daniel Brewer told NBC 25 News. “We're willing to stand in front of that door and block the entrance so the police will have no entry there today.”

Raising doubts about Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's authority to impose a stay-at-home order without the support of the Legislature, Shiawassee County Sheriff Brian BeGole said Monday that his office "will not divert our primary resources and efforts towards enforcement of the Governor Whitmer executive orders."

"Our goal is to ensure that everyone feels safe and is treated fairly," BeGole said in an open letter to the public. "With limited resources, staffing and facilities, our priority focus will be on enforcing duly passed laws for the protection of Shiawassee County citizens."

Shiawassee County has reported 204 confirmed coronavirus cases and 17 deaths.

On Facebook, hundreds of opponents of Whitmer’s coronavirus restrictions have expressed support for the barber shop, which has become a lightning rod in the debate over the stay-at-home order.

"Hopefully our Governor doesn't get anybody killed. Because if someone gets hurt it's on her," Baby Eno wrote Saturday on the private Facebook page "The People of Michigan vs Gov. Gretchen Whitmer."

Zach Bailey added, "Hopefully the police decide that fucking with pissed off armed men is a bad idea."

Metro Times couldn’t reach Manke for comment.

"For men, haircuts are essential. That's a fact," Manke told Mid-Michigan Now.

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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