The Royal Oak City Commission is voting on Monday night whether to censure City Commissioner Kim Gibbs and ask for her resignation for attending a rally in Lansing to protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s lockdown order.
Gibbs attended a rally on April 15 in Lansing, where she walked on the sidewalk in front of the Capitol building, according to the agenda from the Royal Oak City Commission. During this rally, Gibbs walked near other Michigan residents without wearing a mask.
Gibbs was protesting a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” lockdown order that suspended inter-residence travel and banned the purchase of certain items in large stores.
The censure and resignation was requested by Mayor Pro Tem Patricia Patruch and supported by Commissioners Sharlan Douglas and Kyle DuBuc.
“We, the members of the Royal Oak City Commission, do hereby censure Commissioner Kim Gibbs for her violation of her oath of office, her violation of executive orders issued under the Michigan Constitution and state laws, and in violation of her duty to protect the public health and safety,” the censure reads. “We respectfully request that Commissioner Gibbs immediately resign her office as city commissioner.”
The Thomas More Law Center is representing Gibbs and says that any censure or resignation request would violate the commissioner’s First Amendment rights and the commission is only seeking a censure due to her politics.
“Governor Whitmer recently publicly acknowledged the right to public demonstrations, but the Royal Oak Commission has not received the message,” said Richard Thompson, TMLC’s president and chief counsel, in a statement. “Gibbs is to be censured for not wearing a facemask while walking on the sidewalk.”
Only Whitmer’s most recent order mandated masks and only requires them when in enclosed spaces. Her most recent order was established April 24.
Thompson said Gibbs did not identify herself as a commissioner during her participation in the protest, never intentionally violated a social distancing rule and was not charged with violating a social distancing rule.
“Commissioner Gibbs is being punished for participating in the grand design of American democracy,” Thompson said. “Neither the Governor nor the Royal Oak City Commission can suspend the United States Constitution.”
Read the full agenda from the Royal Oak City Commission here.
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]
Photo “Royal Oak City Commissioner Kim Gibbs” by Royal Oak City Commissioner Kim Gibbs. Photo “Operation Gridlock” by Michigan Conservative Coalition.