Officials apologize, say charges will be dropped after reporter arrested covering Proud Boys rally
(CNN) — Officials in Kalamazoo have apologized for the arrest of a Black reporter who was covering a Proud Boys rally and counterprotests on Saturday, according to affiliate reports.
MLive reporter Samuel Robinson was covering the far-right group’s rally and counterprotest and posting updates on social media most of the day.
In video taken by Robinson, the journalist could be heard telling officers several times that he was a member of the media as he was arrested with his identification lanyard around his neck.
“I’m being arrested now,” Robinson said in the video. “I’m media, dude. I’m media. I’m with MLive. I’m with MLive,” he said before the video cuts out.
Robinson was released the same day on a $100 bond on a charge of impeding traffic, MLive reported.
On Sunday, Kalamazoo officials addressed the rally and arrests, saying they were sorry about the reporter’s arrest and his charges would be dropped.
“I apologize for the trauma that it caused to this young man,” Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Karianne Thomas said during the news conference, CNN affiliate WOOD-TV reported. “We all respect the sanctity of the press.”
Mayor David Anderson said the reporter had been released and the charges against him had been dropped, according to affiliate WWMT.
Robinson was among nine adults and one minor who were arrested during Saturday’s event, Thomas said according to the WWMT. She did not know whether those arrested were counterprotesters or members of the Proud Boys but she said she didn’t believe any Proud Boys were arrested, the affiliate reported.
The mayor said that he is consulting with the city attorney about dropping charges against the five people who were arrested whose cases are being handled by the city, WWMT reported.
“We will soon have an answer back on that but I’ve made that request and that is not normal for a mayor to interject themselves into the legal system in that way, but that’s relating to five folks who were charged under city ordinances,” Anderson said, according to WWMT.
In the video taken by Robinson, physical altercations between Proud Boys rally attendees and counterprotesters could be seen breaking out with no police officers present.
When police began to respond to the scene after fights broke out, video posted by Robinson showed them move in on the groups to get things under control. As Robinson walked with the police while filming, he was arrested.
According to CNN affiliate WOOD-TV, Thomas said that officers had been aware of the planned rally and counterprotests since July and were prepared with 111 officers in place to respond if the event took a turn.
Thomas said that there were several officers in unmarked vehicles and a sniper standing by, WOOD-TV reported.