“KDPS arrested an MLive reporter who they believed to be interfering or obstructing with their operations,” Kalamazoo Police Chief Karianne Thomas said during a press conference. “This person was wearing visible credentials and should not have been arrested.”
“I apologize for the trauma that it caused to this young man. We all respect the sanctity of the press,” Thomas added.
.@KalPublicSafety Chief Karianne Thomas apologizes for my arrest Saturday: “KDPS arrested an @MLive reporter who they believed to be interfering or obstructing with their operations… This person was wearing visible credentials and should not have been arrested.” pic.twitter.com/z9DOkf6txi
— Samuel J. Robinson (@samueljrob) August 17, 2020
The reporter, Samuel Robinson, had tweeted coverage from the protest throughout the day. He tweeted that he had been arrested and charged with impeding traffic while reporting live on Facebook for MLive.
Apologize for the delay. Police arrived as Proud Boys retreated to a parking garage nearby the Raddison HotelI. I was arrested and charged with impeding traffic while reporting live on Facebook for @MLive. pic.twitter.com/KcGL7v2crg
— Samuel J. Robinson (@samueljrob) August 15, 2020
Kalamazoo police said nine arrests were made during demonstrations, and one juvenile who was arrested was later released to parents.
The confrontation between the far-right Proud Boys, a designated hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and counterprotesters started just before 2 p.m., WOODTV reported. Police said the Proud Boys had a planned rally and counter protesters, including the People’s Defense League of Michigan, staged their own event in the area, according to WOODTV.
Five of the nine arrests were being handled by the city while four were being handled by the county, WWMT reported.
Kalamazoo Mayor David Anderson said he was consulting the city attorney to see if less-serious charges could be dropped, according to the outlet. The mayor reportedly said he didn’t want to ignore what had happened but asked the charges to be dropped, based on the context of the protests.
He also denounced the Proud Boys and said he rejected the group’s tactics and beliefs.
“The city of Kalamazoo and Kalamazoo administration for a fact support Black Lives Matter,” Anderson said, according to WWMT.