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Police respond to disturbance outside home of Tribar Technologies CEO after chemical discharge

The Huron River in Dexter Huron Metropark
Caroline Llanes
Michigan Radio
The Huron River in Dexter Huron Metropark

Police responded to a report of a disturbance Friday morning near the home of Tribar Technology CEO Kevin Cramton, according to the City of Northville Police Department. Tribar is the company responsible for the discharge of a carcinogenic chemical into the Huron River system late last month.

A woman who answered the phone at the Cramton residence and identified herself as Cramton's wife — but declined to give her first name — told Michigan Radio that the disturbance was caused by protesters in front of her house. She said the protesters chanted, set off fireworks, slashed eight tires on vehicles parked in the driveway, and spray painted "derogatory" graffiti on the garage and driveway.

Police described a similar scene, though they did not give a specific address for the incident or characterize the people they encountered as "protesters." Officers reported finding damaged vehicles and spray painting on the garage and driveway.

Police said after they arrived, they were able to detain six of the roughly 20 individuals who fled the scene.

Tribar's discharge of thousands of gallons of hexavalent chromium in Wixom prompted the state to urge people to avoid all contact with a stretch of the Huron River. That advisory was lifted Friday evening.

A press release sent anonymously Friday morning to news media that have been covering the chemical discharge said protesters gathered outside the Tribar CEO's home to express "their anger and fury at the company's appalling negligence."

The press release did not mention the vandalism. It also did not mention protestors fleeing the scene when police arrived. "After about ten minutes of chanting and public speaking, the activists departed," it said.

In a statement, Tribar said, "We respect everyone's right to peacefully and lawfully hold a rally. However, there is never an excuse for vandalism, harassment and criminal behavior at a private residence."

"We are in close contact with local police regarding the incident last night, and want to thank them for their quick action and support," the statement continued.

The Northville police department said it is continuing its investigation with assistance from federal and state agencies, and it's attempting to identify all suspects involved.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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