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Misdemeanors Dropped for Madison Heights Residents Charged with Executive Order Violations for Small Backyard Gathering

Four individuals from Madison Heights who were cited with misdemeanor violations for gathering in a backyard together have had their charges dropped, after a massive outcry against the abusive practice.

Police harassed these individuals at their private home and cited them for violating Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order, which essentially criminalizes basic human interaction.

The Detroit News reported on the shocking incident last week:

Madison Heights residents are fighting citations issued last Thursday under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-home order by arguing their six-person gathering was exempt.

Madison Heights police ticketed four individuals Thursday who were gathered in a group of six at an area residence, Police Chief Corey Haines said.

The homeowners were not ticketed, but the visitors were for a violation of the governor’s prohibition on public and private gatherings contained within the stay-home order. Violations of the stay-home order are treated as misdemeanors, punishable by up to a $500 fine and/or 90 days in jail.

The state also recently created a separate civil fine of up to $1,000 for violations of the order, but those fines are administered by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, not local police departments…

The individuals who were ticketed had been advised before to follow the governor’s order in an effort to keep the spread of infection down, Haines said.

Oakland County is one of two Michigan counties hardest hit by the virus, with 3,736 confirmed cases and 205 deaths as of Tuesday afternoon.

Madison Heights had 90 confirmed cases and nine deaths as of Wednesday, according to state data. It has a population of 30,173.

“The executive order states, ‘Stay at Home,’ not go to your friends’ home for a party,” Haines said.

“We’re trying to do everything under the governor’s order as reasonably as possible and giving everyone the benefit of the doubt as to how they’re interpreting the order,” he added.

“I took on the cases for 3 of the 4 individuals cited with misdemeanors for just being in their friend’s back yard. I have been in communication with the chief of police for Madison Heights who has been very reasonable and helpful for the situation. I don’t speak for the chief but I think many people in the state on all levels agree this Order has gone WAY TOO FAR,” lawyer Nicholas Somberg wrote on Facebook.

Somberg was pleased to make the announcement that all of the cases were dismissed.

“All 4 cases have been dismissed, even for the person I don’t represent!” he said.

Like with Operation Gridlock, this shows that the push back against this tyranny is developing rapidly.

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Shane Trejo
Shane is a long-time journalist and political activist with years of experience covering public policy.

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