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MI Judge Dismisses Charges Against 'Operation Haircut' Lockdown Protesters Who Stood with Barber Karl Manke


A judge in Michigan Monday dismissed all charges against a group of hairstylists who participated in the "Operation Haircut" protest at the State Capitol in Lansing. 

The Michigan Attorney General's Office brought charges against the stylists after they started offering haircuts outside the Capitol building last May in support of Owosso barber Karl Manke, WJRT News reports.

Manke made headlines last year when he defied Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's (D-MI) harsh COVID lockdown orders and reopened his barbershop despite her executive order requiring all non-essential businesses to remain closed.

"I had gone six weeks without a paycheck with no money coming in," Manke explained at the time. "I've always worked. I've never looked for handouts. I don't even know what they are. I had somebody call and say why don't you get on food stamps. Well, I don't want food stamps. I want to work."

“[The shutdown] collapsed me, mentally, physically, and spiritually,” he said at the time. “I was in despair. I had to go back to work…I don’t have anybody paying me unless I’m doing work.” 

But Manke stood his ground and stayed open, resulting in a misdemeanor offense and a fine. 

"Politicians are playing the political politician games, and you know we're the pawns out here. Supposedly somehow or other we're supposed to wait until this coronavirus passes. That could be when Jesus comes," Manke said. 

CBN's Faithwire reported in October that those charges were dropped against Manke. 

The Michigan high court ruled Whitmer's far-reaching, indefinite lockdowns were an "unlawful delegation of legislative power to the executive branch in violation of the Michigan Constitution."  

Manke said dropping the charges, "is definitely a weight off my shoulders." He added, "I just want to earn a living, and I am not a health threat to anyone."

According to WJRT News, those who took part in Operation Haircut included barbers, hairstylists, massage therapists, dog groomers, and seamstresses.  

And Attorney David Kallman said the high court's decision this week was a major victory for free speech. 

"It is a relief that they no longer face the prospect of having a criminal record and potential jail time for merely exercising their right to peaceably speak out," Kallman said. "If a person protests certain issues, the governor will ignore her own orders and walk with you. But if a person protests the governor, she will prosecute you and attempt to destroy your business."

***As certain voices are censored and free speech platforms shut down, be sure to sign up for CBN News emails and the CBN News app to ensure you keep receiving news from a Christian Perspective.***

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