Kalamazoo, Mich., Officials Apologize for Arrest of Black Reporter Covering Violent White Nationalist Rally

Illustration for article titled Kalamazoo, Mich., Officials Apologize for Arrest of Black Reporter Covering Violent White Nationalist Rally
Screenshot: Samuel J. Robinson (Twitter

Over the weekend, The Root reported on two separate white nationalist rallies—one in Stone Mountain, Ga., and one in Kalamazoo, Mich.—where groups of white people mad about various things were met by anti-racism counterprotesters who let the white supremacist MAGA-humpers know that the only thing they have to be mad about is their inability to grasp the fine art of making raisinless potato salad, clap on the two and four, and add any semblance of rhythm to those stiff ass line dances they love so much.


In both protests, confrontations between the two groups became physical with the melanin-redacted side reportedly pepper-spraying counterprotesters and law enforcement being slow to intervene. In Kalamazoo, officers’ hesitation to get involved, even as violence broke out, didn’t stop them from immediately going after MLive reporter Samuel Robinson.

City officials in Kalamazoo apologized to Robinson and dropped charges against the Black journalist, who was covering a Proud Boys rally and the clash with counterprotesters on Saturday in which the reporter was seemingly snatched up by police officers on sight and arrested despite repeatedly identifying himself as a member of the press.

From CNN:

In a video taken by Robinson, the journalist could be heard telling officers several times that he was a member of the media as he was arrested with his identification lanyard around his neck.

“I’m being arrested now,” Robinson said in the video. “I’m media, dude. I’m media. I’m with MLive. I’m with MLive,” he said before the video cuts out.

Robinson was released the same day on a $100 bond on a charge of impeding traffic, MLive reported.

On Sunday, Kalamazoo officials addressed the rally and arrests, saying they were sorry about the reporter’s arrest and his charges would be dropped.

“I apologize for the trauma that it caused to this young man,” Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Karianne Thomas said during the news conference, CNN affiliate WOOD-TV reported. “We all respect the sanctity of the press.”

Mayor David Anderson said the reporter had been released and the charges against him had been dropped, according to affiliate WWMT.


Thomas also said that Robinson was one of 10 people arrested at the rally and that she doesn’t believe any of those arrested were Proud Boys, CNN reports. In fact, according to MLive, the Kalamazoo Police Department—which knew days in advance that the angry, empty spice cabinet-having wypipo rally was happening—explained why officers weren’t on the ground for most of the rally by saying they only really had a plan for responding to it as a peaceful demonstration. (Because when in America’s past or present has white people with their star-spangled pantaloons all in a bunch over civil rights efforts ever been a recipe for violence, am I right?)

Of course, that weak-ass justification still doesn’t explain why Robinson was arrested in the first place or why, as far as the public safety chief knows, none of the Proud Boys were handcuffed. It’s almost as if racism happened at a racism rally—go figure.


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Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons



“...none of the Proud Boys were among those arrested.”

All you need to know.