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Attorney: Owosso barber won't pay $9,000 in fines following 'Operation Haircut' protest

a man wearing a mask cuts the hair of a man not wearing a mask
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

The attorney for Karl Manke says the Owosso barber won’t pay $9,000 in fines ordered by a state professional board. The board found Manke violated state COVID-19 restrictions as well as other health rules.

Half the citations were aimed specifically at a protest last May. Manke and other barbers and stylists cut hair in front of the state Capitol.

David Kallman is Manke’s attorney.

“That’s a clear violation of his First Amendment rights to free speech and to protest, and that’s what he did and they’re imposing fines for simply exercising his First Amendment rights.”

Kallman said other sanctions were for minor violations that don’t deserve such heavy penalties.

“I mean $6,000 of the $9,000 in fines are for ‘Operation Haircut’ and Karl cutting hair at the state Capitol," Kallman said. "They were not these minor violations. They were the protests that happened at the Capitol."

Kallman said the Capitol protests are protected by the First Amendment. He says a court challenge to the fines will be filed in Shiawassee County.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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