“Charges against a Michigan barber who defied Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus lockdown orders by reopening his barbershop in May have been dropped.
“It’s definitely a weight off my shoulders,” the barber, Karl Manke, said. “I just want to earn a living, and I am not a health threat to anyone.”
Manke, 78, became a national symbol of resistance for those who opposed strict government lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic when he reopened his barbershop without authorization on May 4. The publicity helped the barber sell books, T-shirts, and raise $88,000 through various GoFundMe pages.
Manke briefly had his license taken away after he reopened the shop, but the attorney general’s office filed a motion to restore his license in June. Despite that, the misdemeanor case against him continued to move forward until Monday.
Prosecutors dropped the charges for violating health orders against Manke after Michigan’s Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that the governor’s orders were an unconstitutional use of her emergency powers.
“Based on that ruling, we didn’t feel the charges could go forward,” said prosecuting attorney Scott Koerner.”