Injustice

Activists disappointed at Kalamazoo’s plan to address police mishandling of rally

The city commission on Monday will consider plans to revise how police handle protests. Local activists say it's not enough.

Kalamazoo activists aren’t happy with a preliminary report issued Tuesday by a city subcommittee that addresses police missteps in responding to a racist rally last month.

On August 15, members of the far-right Proud Boys came to Kalamazoo for a rally that devolved into violence with counterprotesters.

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According to a report on MLive.

“We’re supposed to trust that they are going to do the right thing every time in every scenario, no matter how unrealistic that may be, but they can’t even acknowledge to the public that some of their officers during the last event may have acted inappropriately,” said Tyrone Burnett, who attended the protest.

He and many Kalamazoo residents are incensed that Kalamazoo Public Safety officers were largely absent until after fighting broke out. The arrests of a reporter and a legal observer are another point of contention.

Burnett said the arrests gave the impression that police “didn’t want the media showing who was coming out of the parking garage,” where members of the Proud Boys were allowed the leave after the violence ended.

Reverend Nathan Dannison of First Congregational Church organized a peaceful prayer vigil prior to the rally. He said public safety doesn’t need even need new guidelines.

“I feel like we just need to enforce the laws that we already have on the books,” he said. “No parades without permits, no traveling across state lines with the attempt to incite a riot. And if people are driving around without license plates, you should stop them and ask them for identification.”

He said it seemed like public safety officers were protecting members of the Proud Boys from protesters instead of the other way around.

You can read the full story here.