Justice

Kalamazoo police chief to step down

Chief Karianne Thomas will resign at the end of September amid an outcry over the department's handling of protests.

Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Chief Karianne Thomas has announced she will step down effective September 30. That comes after weeks of criticism over the department’s handling of Black Lives Matter protests in June and a racist rally in August.

Assistant Chief Vernon Coakley will become the department’s first Black public safety chief October 1.

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Thomas is eligible for retirement and will receive a one year severance package per her contract. She has worked for KDPS for 27 years.

Thomas, along with City Manager Jim Ritsema and Mayor David Anderson, have been the target of public criticism after a rally by the racist Proud Boys group on August 15. Critics complain that police did nothing to prevent the fights that broke out and arrested ten people, two of whom were there as observers.

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