Critics still irate about Kalamazoo police’s handling of racist rally

Police video shows protesters started violence at an August rally, but residents are still unhappy with the police response.

Kalamazoo residents are still calling for the resignation of several city officials – including the Chief of Public Safety Karianne Thomas – over the mishandling of a rally held by a racist group called the Proud Boys on August 15.

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety released bodycam footage and other video of the rally Wednesday.

Residents registered their discontent during the public comments portion of a Kalamazoo city commission meeting Tuesday night.

“I believe that the chief should be fired. [City Manager] Jim Ritsema – you should be gone. [Mayor] David Anderson – you should step down,” said Kalamazoo resident Shona Espinoza. “I am very disappoint in what happened and what continues to happen.”

Residents have criticized the city officials for the perceived absence of Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety officers before violence broke out, for officers allowing Proud Boys to leave the city unimpeded, and for the arrest of ten people including a reporter and a legal observer.

They especially denounced a plan to address police mishandling of the rally put forth by a city subcommittee last week. Commenters singled out one piece of the plan, which calls for accrediting reporters prior to any rally or protest.

“The media doesn’t need a credentialing process,” said a Kalamazoo resident identified as Bailey. “KDPS needs to take responsibility and make some changes starting with resignation of Chief Thomas.”

You can read more at MLive.

We won five Michigan Press Association awards, thanks to you!

Click here to see which ones

The average story costs NowKalamazoo $400 to produce. Donate to fund stories like this.