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City of Kalamazoo, Department of Public Safety releases footage from Aug. 15 protests

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety today released photos, video and body cam footage from the Proud Boys’ Aug. 15 march through Kalamazoo following a top-down review of the City’s response to the day’s events. 

“At KDPS, our top priority is keeping our residents, visitors, businesses and the media safe, and we look at every incident as an opportunity to do things better and do things differently,” said KDPS Chief Karianne Thomas. “We are committed to transparency and accountability and our goal is to learn from this incident, improve and create a better Kalamazoo for residents, families and visitors.”

“This was a chaotic and dangerous situation that changed quickly, and reviewing the footage has allowed us to critically assess our response to the march and protests so we can see where we can improve and fulfill our mission of keeping residents and visitors in Kalamazoo safe,” said Vernon Coakley, KDPS assistant chief.

Following the review, Chief Thomas presented three takeaways:

  • KDPS intentionally chose to avoid a strong police presence with the goal of minimizing violence and deescalating an already volatile situation. This is a technique successfully used by KDPS with other protests this summer. Thomas has recommended to city leaders that KDPS explore additional techniques of safe separation of groups for future protests and demonstrations.
  • KDPS actively engaged in conversations and monitoring the various groups’ plans for that day, however neither the Proud Boys nor the group of counter-protestors were operating in full partnership with the city. The Proud Boys intentionally deceived the public and used disinformation as part of their strategy, publicizing a false location and start time, and the counter-protestors publicized a peaceful rally yet some individuals brought and displayed weapons.
  • The subcommittee’s preliminary report released last week is a roadmap that can help the City and KDPS better protect and serve the Kalamazoo community in the future. The report highlights several opportunities for improvement in the areas of safety, community relationships and communications, equity and accountability.

10 videos, including a review by KDPS, are available in the playlist below: 

City of Kalamazoo

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