Another Unsettling Evening For Michigan
Overnight violence again hit home in Michigan cities. In Battle Creek, reports so far this morning show it turned out to be a relatively quiet night, despite the lead-up which indicated something more could be happening. In Kalamazoo, things turned out differently with rioters interrupting traffic downtown, and then some began breaking windows at downtown buildings and vandalizing the area. WWMT reports cars at a downtown auto dealership were damaged. As the crowd built from a few dozen to hundreds, the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety requested assistance from Battle Creek Police and Michigan State troopers. Tear gas was deployed by Public Safety officers in at least two locations overnight around the downtown area as PSO’s worked to control the rioters.
Several arrests were made but so far no reports of any shootings or serious injuries. One Kalamazoo Public Safety officer was injured and was taken to a local hospital. No word this morning on the condition of the officer or what happened. A few arrests are reported overnight in Grand Rapids as people knowingly violated the city’s emergency curfew after serious violence and extensive damages from weekend riots. Other activity occurred overnight in Lansing, Detroit, Troy, and Jackson. The peaceful protest in Jackson blocked a downtown intersection for while but otherwise no reports of serious problems for the city.
The potential of violence developing in a number of Southwest Michigan communities late yesterday afternoon caused some tension. It also forced businesses and government offices to close early to get people out of the way. In Battle Creek, notification went out from the City Police Department a little after 4 in the afternoon. The department posted on Facebook that another protest was planned for the city’s downtown area and the department was recommending that residents avoid the area. The protest, the department reported, would follow multiple peaceful protests in the city on Sunday related to the Black Lives Matter movement, and the death of George Floyd as he was detained by police in Minneapolis. The department recommended downtown area businesses and offices to close and send workers home early.
That scenario developed along similar lines in the City of Kalamazoo. But maybe with a little more intensity. The Kalamazoo County Sheriffs Department recommended county offices downtown close up. And by late afternoon crews were boarding up windows at several county buildings in the downtown area. Around the same time, reports were surfacing on Facebook from area residents reporting that Walmart stores in the area were closing early due to the potential of violence.
The Walmart on Gull Road in Kalamazoo was closed up tight shortly after 4 pm. A steady flow of confused would-be customers rolled into the parking lot to find it essentially empty.
At 5 pm, the store parking lot was empty safe for a Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department cruiser posted in a corner of the parking lot. A store security vehicle patrolled around the closed building.
Normally, at that time of day up to 150 customer vehicles or more are parked at the store.
A single, and clearly hastily made sign on one of the doors to the store proclaimed: “For the safety of our associates and customers, we will close at 4 pm”