Justice

Police report: Counterprotesters to blame for violence at racist rally

An official report suggests there would have been no fighting if not for people protesting a neo-fascist group in Kalamazoo on August 15.

The official line is this: A racist rally organized by the Proud Boys in downtown Kalamazoo on August 15 would not have devolved into violence if it were not for the counterprotesters.

That’s suggested by a series of police reports obtained from the Kalamazoo Public Safety Department (KDPS) by MLive through a Freedom of Information Act Request.

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The reports by police officers who were on-scene say counterprotesters began the fight that resulted in several people being injured or arrested.

But other witnesses dispute those findings.

Reverend Nathan Dannison of First Congregational Church organized an anti-racism rally that preceded the racist one. He said violence began before police were even present.

“It was clear to me a fight between a Proud Boy and a homeless person started the violence,” he said.

Another counterprotester, Andy Argo, agreed with Dannison’s assessment.

“What I saw directly was the houseless person being attacked, pulled out, with some other physical altercation happening in the aftermath,” he said.

KDPS has come under fire for how it handled the rally with residents criticizing their absence until after violence broke out and the arrest of several residents including an MLive reporter.

A special panel of Kalamazoo City Commissioners is developing a policy for how KDPS should respond to rallies and protests in the future.

You can read more here.

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