A city commissioner in Michigan has filed a federal lawsuit after being censured this week for attending an April 15 protest against Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer's executive order locking down the state.
Royal Oak City Commissioner Kim Gibbs is being represented by The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC). Richard Thompson, TMLC's president and chief counsel, says Commissioner Gibbs – a Republican – wasn't doing anything wrong by participating in the protest outside the state capitol building and is instead being punished by a Democrat-controlled Commission.
"She was there, walking on the sidewalk, and she was there representing small businesses that had been destroyed or [owners who] were losing their businesses because of these draconian measures implemented by Governor Whitmer," the attorney explains.
The City of Royal Oak learned about Gibbs' participation in the Lansing protest through a news reporter.
Commissioners asked Gibbs to resign; when she refused, they placed on Monday's agenda a resolution to censure her. Charges included Gibbs not wearing a mask and violating social distancing guidelines of being at least six feet from people.
According to Thompson, there was no rule on April 15 saying people needed to wear a facemask in public. Moreover, he says the governor's order advises people to maintain a six-foot distance – if feasible.
"She has been punished for exercising her constitutional rights," Thompson concludes. "It's been a political trial; it was a kangaroo court that occurred [Monday] because they wanted to punish a Republican in a Democratic-controlled Commission."
And while the TMLC chief counsel acknowledges "they succeeded temporarily," he adds: "But we will see what a federal court says about it."
Gibbs, who is an attorney herself, is one of only two conservative members of the seven-member Commission. She was first elected to the Commission in November 2017.