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Justice

TIMELINE: The Proud Boys march and clashes in downtown Kalamazoo

NowKalamazoo has reviewed video and reporters notes. Here's how a white supremacist rally unfolded.

Despite promoting their hate rally Saturday to be held at the Arcadia Creek Festival Place, the “Proud Boys” group never requested permits, city officials said.

Rev. Nathan Dannison, senior pastor at downtown’s First Congregational Church, did — securing a permit for a prayer event which started around 11 a.m., giving it sole rights to the space.

It was outside the space that Dannison said he witnessed a homeless man who lived at the Arcadia site attacked.

The Proud Boys are a group that believes in western chauvinism and white nationalism, and affiliate with neo-Nazis among other hate groups.

“The whole thing was over in 90 minutes,” Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS) Chief Karianne Thomas said.

1:15 p.m.: Proud Boys exit the parking structure, grouping up and getting ready to march. A large SUV with Texas license plates blocked traffic on Rose Street while they assembled. There was no visible police presence. Those on foot began to march east on Water Street. The group formed up and began marching down Water Street. An undercover Kalamazoo police car tails them closely.

1:32 p.m.: Violence begins on Water Street across from Arcadia festival site.

With the Arcadia site blocked by counter-protesters, skirmishes with the white supremacist group began in and around the intersection of Water and North Edwards streets.

1:34 p.m.: Moves to Edwards Street, fighting continues, Proud Boys use pepper spray.

Throughout this time, there were multiple reports and video of fighting, including members of the Proud Boys group spraying an irritant which appeared to be pepper spray at the counter protesters. 

1:37 p.m.: KDPS officers begins to move West down Water Street

1:38 p.m.: Violence continues on Edwards, protesters leave. 

1:43 p.m.: Proud Boys march west down Michigan Ave, then on the sidewalk, near PNC and the Radisson, turning south on Rose Street toward Bronson Park for a short speech and to take photos.

As they walked, they engaged in some verbal side altercations with community members who were downtown.  Numerous middle fingers from passers by.

As they walked across Rose to Bronson Park, again blocking traffic, there was a physical confrontation with a counter protester. One member of the Proud Boy group responded with pepper spray directly in the face.

1:47-1:54: Proud Boys gather for photo and speech in Bronson Park.

They gathered around the Spanish American War Memorial and made an approximately three minute speech.

There was a mild police presence.  Two marked and one unmarked cruiser. When asked about lack of police response to the situation the reply was “we have it under control.”

1:55: The white supremacist group then moved north down Rose Street to their vehicles at the parking structure opposite the Radisson hotel. Counter-protesters followed but security forces began to secure the parking ramp (it’s unclear if they were city or other jurisdiction). The Proud Boys group then appeared on a higher level of the parking structure, taunting the counter protesters below.

2:00: Police presence was now very heavy behind a Michigan State Police traffic barricade on Water and Rose streets. About 10 state police mounted on bicycles and around the same number of state police in helmets. The 10 in helmets all go up the Radisson parking structure staircase

2:13 Police start blocking off the parking ramp. When Proud Boys vehicles were leaving the structure, the security forces cleared the exits. Multiple vehicles did not have license plates, which is usually a violation for which police will detain a vehicle and drivers. Now riot police and police without riot gear come in.

2:17: Counter protests increase in front of the parking ramp, chanting against police for how they treated the Proud Boys disproportionate to the risk they actually posed to the community. First call to disperse ignored.

2:20: Instructions to clear the area were being announced via loudspeakers, around the parking structure and the Arcadia site, and counter protesters were seen being arrested, including at least one Black teenager wearing an orange Black Lives Matter shirt. 

Samuel Robinson, an MLive reporter who had been documenting the day’s events via video on Twitter and Facebook, was live on Facebook walking away from the parking structure when he was suddenly detained, during which time he was constantly communicating that he was a member of the press. Thomas apologized for the arrest and said all charges were dropped.

Police start repeating calls to leave, directing anti-Proud Boy protests east down Michigan Ave, and enforcing the “police zone”.

2:32: Anti-Proud Boys protesters are back at Arcadia, dispersed for the day as well.