Royal Oak official gets protection after harassment claim for rally participation

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Correction: This story has been updated to indicate that county Commissioner David Woodward did not call for Gibbs to resign from office.

Royal Oak — A city commissioner is under police protection after she said she received harassing and threatening calls, emails and texts about her attendance at an Operation Gridlock rally last week protesting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay in place orders.

Royal Oak City Commissioner Kim Gibbs said she filed a police report and is being provided protective services.

Lt. Albert Carter declined to elaborate on what, if any, police protection was being provided to Gibbs but said no arrests were made in the matter.

"A report was received, investigated and has been closed," Carter said. "Anytime someone receives a threat we do whatever we can to investigate It."

A copy of Gibbs' complaint obtained by The Detroit News under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act indicated she turned over a voicemail to police from an unknown caller that said: "Please do not leave your house. The fact that you put lives at danger is completely unacceptable. Don't leave the house and infect people by going to the store. Please quarantine yourself for 14 days, that's the right thing to do."

A detective submitted a search warrant affidavit seeking phone records for a cellular number but Royal Oak 44th District Court Magistrate Donald Chisholm denied the request. Police put an extra patrol on Gibbs' address, and she was advised to contact police immediately if the harassment continued.

Gibbs, a Republican who is running against Oakland County Commission Chairman David Woodward, D-Royal Oak, said in a Thursday news release she continues to receive “unkind messages as a result of local and county Democratic leaders disseminating her personal information online …”

Royal Oak commissioner Kim Gibbs

“I attended Operational Gridlock at the Capitol to support the voices of small business owners and their employees,” Gibbs said. “I appreciate, and respect, the president’s efforts to keep Americans safe and end this pandemic; however, the governor’s lockdown is arbitrary and capricious.”

Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier has called for Gibbs to resign from the commission.

 “I’ve been checked for COVID-19 and am not carrying the virus; thus, I was no threat to anyone,” Gibbs said. “I maintained CDC social distancing guidelines at the rally.”

Gibbs alleged Fournier has used his office to permit non-essential business, specifically construction projects, in Royal Oak in violation of Whitmer’s lockdown orders.

Fournier could not be immediately reached Thursday for comment.

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