Stay Home, Stay Safe tickets being challenged in Madison Heights

Posted at 6:29 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 18:29:04-04

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — We've been showing you how some people are defiant and posting videos of gatherings in Detroit. In Dearborn horseplay on the freeway was recorded and sent to us. In Madison Heights several people were ticketed for gathering at a house where they didn’t live.

The violations can be $1,000 fines or 6 months in jail as ordered last week by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Attorney Nicholas Somberg represents 4 of the people in Madison Heights and will take the misdemeanor case to court.

Madison Heights Police Chief Corey Haines says these tickets were issued after residents complained about their neighbors, the people ticketed did not live in the house where they gathered, and they were given warnings before the tickets.

Attorney Somberg says the police walked into the back yard without search warrants and the people were using social distancing.

How will they sort it out?

“We ordered the bodycam footage to take a look at that,” Somberg says.

Police Chief Haines says this is about saving lives. He has two officers fighting Coronavirus for several days and so far, their cases have not turned critical.

The Chief says they are providing protective equipment, masks and gloves for cops on the street, but the more they interact with people the better chance they could contract it and they could have a problem of not enough officers on the street.

Attorney Somberg says this is an overreach by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, “When you pick up a pack of cigarettes it says hey this might give you cancer this is very serious. Cigarettes kill a million people a year.”

And Somberg adds, “The First Amendment doesn’t say you have the right to freely assemble and freedom of the press unless you know the Governor changes her mind.”

Chief Haines says he’s okay with letting a judge decide this case, when they can get back into court.

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