Kalamazoo’s Public Safety Chief responds to criticism

In an interview with MLive, Chief Karianne Thomas said her department is reviewing both the rally itself and how police handled it.

Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Chief Karianne Thomas agrees that Saturday’s rally by a right-wing, neo-fascist group didn’t go as well as it could have.

Thomas, along with other city leaders, are under fire for KDPS’ handling of the rally. Police were largely unseen until after violence broke out between the right-wing group and counter-protesters. Police also arrested ten people, all local, including a reporter and a legal observer not involved in the protests.

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On Sunday, Thomas apologized for the arrest of the reporter. Charges have since been dropped against all those arrested except one.

In an interview with MLive, Thomas said civil unrest is a big problem across the country right now.

“If there was a simple answer we wouldn’t be in Day 82 in Portland of riots or the Magnificent Mile in Chicago,” she said. “If I, in little old Kalamazoo, had those answers — believe me, I’d be wanted everywhere in the world.”

The department is reviewing social media video of the rally to see if charges can be filed against anybody after-the-fact.

“We are doing our after-action review and going through what happened and that’s ongoing,” Thomas said. “If anything else comes to light, we’ll look at that as it happens.”

Thomas was also a little defensive about the department’s tactics.

“It’s human dynamics and people are trying to make it seem like it was a simpler situation than it was,” she said. “It’s easy to Monday morning quarterback and to be a Google cop.”

You can read the full story here.

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