Justice Misinformation & Disinformation

Portage police employee, through employer, denies participation in Jan. 6 insurrection

Michigan Republican Party leader posed for pictures with Proud Boys at a November Lansing rally, one of many she attended in Michigan and Washington claiming election stolen from Donald Trump.

A former Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s deputy and current Portage Public Safety records clerk was in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021, but did not take part in the violent attack on the Capitol Building, a Portage city spokesperson said.

Jamie Swafford, who serves as Michigan Republican Party’s Ethnic Vice Chair – a senior leadership position in the state party organization – came under scrutiny late Thursday as controversial social media posts surfaced including those taken in Washington the day before the insurrection.

The statement from Portage Public Information Officer Mary Beth Block said Swafford “attended the rally on her personal time.” The rally, which featured Trump and other speakers calling to march on the Capitol and physically prevent Congress from certifying the election, took place immediately before the insurrection began.

“The city has no information to suggest that Ms. Swafford was at or inside the Capitol building on January 6 and she has stated that she was not,” Block said in the emailed statement.

“Likewise, the city has no information to suggest that Ms. Swafford is affiliated with any hate group,” a response to a query about pictures of Swafford with two Proud Boys members that she posted to her Facebook account from a November “Stop the Steal” rally on the steps of the Lansing Capitol Building. 

“The City of Portage respects every city employee’s First Amendment rights,” the statement said.

The two Proud Boys members appear to have been among those who held a march in Kalamazoo on Aug. 15 which turned violent.

More on this is here in our original story about Swafford.

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