Michigan Gov. Whitmer can’t understand violence ‘over wearing piece of cloth on your face'

'I cannot ever pretend that I understand someone who would become murderous over (a mask)'

A still image from an Eaton County Deputy's bodycam footage that displays the moment when a suspect wanted in connection with a stabbing advanced on and attacked the deputy during a traffic stop. Sean Ruis, the man in question, can be seen holding both a screwdriver in one hand and multiple knives in the other. Image provided by the Eaton County Sheriff's Office. (Eaton County Sheriff's Office)

LANSING, Mich. – When asked about the violence over mask wearing in the state of Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she can’t pretend to understand why someone would resort to that over “wearing a piece of cloth on your face.”

“I cannot ever pretend that I understand someone who would become murderous over wearing a piece of cloth on your face,” Whitmer said. “But what I can say is that violence is never the solution.”

The governor’s new mask laws went into effect Monday. On Tuesday, an unmasked Michigan man stabbed another customer at an Eaton County store during an argument over face coverings. When he was later confronted by a police officer, he tried to attack her with a knife and was fatally shot.

“We’re asking people to do a simple act of wearing a piece of cloth on their face, alright?” Whitmer said. “It shouldn’t be political. It shouldn’t be about rivalries. It shouldn’t be about anything other than doing what we need to do to keep ourselves safe, our families safe and our communities safe.

“It’s the simple act of wearing a piece of cloth on your face when you’re in a public space, or when you’re outside but in a crowded space,” Whitmer said. “That’s it. This should not be this flashpoint that it seems to be.”

READ: Whitmer extends Michigan state of emergency until Aug. 11

She said she was “incredibly sad” about the incident in Eaton County and to see what some people will do when they’re asked to do the right thing.

“I am grateful that this 70-something-year-old man stepped in to support a clerk who was asking a patron to just mask up,” Whitmer said.

The 77-year-old man who was stabbed at the store was taken to surgery and is expected to survive.

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.