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Surrounded by protesters, James Craig announces his run for Michigan governor

James Craig standing behind a podium outdoors
Zoe Clark
Michigan Radio
Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig is running for the Republican nomination for governor.

Former Detroit police chief James Craig was supposed to announce his candidacy for governor on Belle Isle Tuesday, but that event was interrupted by protesters.

“James Craig is full of hate, we won’t let him win our state,” protesters chanted.

Protesters took to the podium where Craig was expected to speak. When he eventually arrived, his remarks were brief and drowned out by airhorns.

Lloyd Simpson is an organizer with Detroit Will Breathe, the collective that led the protests. He says as police chief, Craig drafted policies that targeted African Americans.

“Our voices were heard. We disrupted a right-wing reactionary’s gubernatorial bid in the Blackest city in the nation,” Simpson said.

During his announcement, Craig reiterated unfounded claims about last summer’s marches. Detroit saw several months of anti-police brutality protests following the killing of George Floyd. Craig said the movement was orchestrated.

“I feel like they were paid. I don’t have any hard evidence. But I feel like they were paid,” Craig said.

That accusation does not have any factual basis and has been repeated by members of the GOP to discredit last year’s protests.

Detroit Will Breathe is suing James Craig and Mayor Mike Duggan and the Detroit Police Department. Protesters claim their First Amendment rights to assemble were violated by officers who used excessive force to stop the marches last summer.

Also in his announcement, Craig said his message will resonate with voters across the state.

“I will resonate with those folks up north or on the west. Because I'm authentic. I'm a leader. And I'm blue collar. I know what hard work looks like,” he said.

As for policy, Craig called for an end to vaccine mandates for workers and university students. In the Republican primary, Craig joins a field that includes Mattawan anti-lockdown activist Garrett Soldano, and conservative commentator Tudor Dixon of Norton Shores.

Eli Newman is a Reporter/Producer for 101.9 WDET (part of the MPRN network), covering breaking news, politics and community affairs.
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