As the dire nature of the coronavirus pandemic continues to look less and less dire, some state authorities appear to be backing off their draconian restrictions and punishments for those who dare to act like normal, constitutionally protected Americans.
The city of Detroit, for example, has agreed to drop a misdemeanor charge against a man accused of violating Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order by protesting outside an abortion clinic, WXYZ Detroit reports.
Detroit and the governor acknowledge that Andrew Belanger’s behavior was not illegal, according to a settlement approved April 14 by a federal judge.
Belanger was cited on March 31 while protesting outside Scotsdale Women’s Center, which provides abortions, in Detroit. His lawsuit stated that eight police cars and 15 officers responded to the scene.
Belanger and anti-abortion allies filed a lawsuit, saying their First Amendment rights were violated.
On April 7, Whitmer issued guidance about her stay-home rules during the coronavirus outbreak. She said “expressive activities protected by the First Amendment” are allowed, although people must stay at least six feet away from others.