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Police chief: Monday was not Kalamazoo's "finest hour"

boarded up store
Courtesy of Chloe Miller
A boarded up store in Kalamazoo shows support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Kalamazoo officials have imposed a 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew this evening after violence flared Monday night. Vandals broke windows and started fires. Police used tear gasand other means to disperse the crowd.

Police Chief Karianne Thomas says it was not Kalamazoo’s “finest hour.”

“I have certain tools that I don’t want to use that I had to use last night,” says Thomas.

Kalamazoo officials say they are preparing for more violent confrontations again tonight. Officials say the Michigan National Guard will be assisting local police agencies.

Monday night’s violence came after peaceful anti-police brutality marches over the weekend, honoring George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died in police custody a week ago. One police officer has been charged with murder in connection with Floyd’s death.

Floyd’s death has sparked a growing number of protests across Michigan and the United States. Kalamazoo Vice Mayor Patrese Griffin says change must come.

“What we are going through right now is not new to a lot of these faces in this crowd.  Racism is nasty, it’s messed up, and has caused a lot of problems,” Griffin told people gathered in Kalamazoo Tuesday, “And until we change these systems, we’ll be out here again in another two years.”

Kalamazoo officials expect more violence tonight. 

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Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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