KALAMAZOO, Mich. — An independent review into how the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety handled the Proud Boys rally last summer has been released.
The 111-page report was created by California-based OIR Group. The firm was hired to review KDPS’ handling of events that transpired between May 30 and June 2 and the incidents surrounding the Proud Boys’ visit to Kalamazoo on Aug. 15.
The independent review details 40 recommendations based on its analysis.
The report focuses on the riots last summer following the death of George Floyd along with separate demonstrations from the Proud Boys.
The report breaks down how the police response either reinforced existing divisions or produced new ones.
It specifically dives into the contrast of how police handled Black Lives Matter protestors, going so far as to unnecessarily arrest those who were peaceful.
Community members felt the response from police just a few weeks later to the Proud Boys was more lenient even though they’re a known hate group.
The OIR Group concluded:
“The period from May 30 to June 2 was genuinely challenging for all the reasons we cite above – and KDPS is rightly proud that the extreme problems faced by other jurisdictions were largely contained in Kalamazoo. But some of its decisions – and individual aspects of its enforcement strategy – were also clearly questionable in ways that it should grapple with more comprehensively. The Proud Boys event on August 15 was a difficult one for the Department to handle effectively, insofar as downsides to every prospective approach did exist. However, while we have no evidence that malice or support for Proud Boy ideology was at the root of KDPS decision-making, the “optics” of those hours as they unfolded were understandably troubling, and elements of the KDPS operation remain puzzling to this day. Again, it would behoove the Department to both hear and listen to the feedback the day engendered, and to work toward better dynamics of communication and coordination with stakeholders in the planning, execution, and aftermath of significant crowd management responses.”
The OIR Group will present its findings at a joint meeting of the city commission and the Citizens Public Safety Review and Appeals Board at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 10.
The meeting will be live streamed on the city’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Read the full report below.
*This is a developing story and this article will be updated as we learn more.