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Detroit police chief who gave Trump rioters a pass teases run for Michigan governor

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Trump supporters who tried to stop vote-counting in 2020 were ‘peaceful.’

By Oliver Willis - May 11, 2021
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Detroit Police Chief James Craig

Detroit Police Chief James Craig appeared on Fox Business on Monday to announce news of his retirement and to bolster a possible challenge to Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2022.

In an appearance on “Cavuto Coast-to-Coast” on Monday, the show’s host said there was “good news for people who support you” and mentioned reports that Craig plans to run for public office, then asked him if he wanted to announce it on the program.

“I can’t announce that,” Craig replied, adding, “Michiganders from across this state, around the country, have asked me and this is one of the things I’m considering, but I have not made a decision.”

The Detroit News reported on May 7 that a source close to Craig said he intends to run for governor. Craig also told the outlet that he has spoken to both state and national Republican officials about a potential candidacy.

In November 2020, Craig admitted that he treated Trump supporters who stormed a vote-counting center in Detroit differently in comparison to how his department handled protesters supporting Black Lives Matter in August of the same year. The excuse Craig gave was that he considered Trump supporters “peaceful.”

When Black Lives Matter protesters from the group “Detroit Will Breathe” marched last summer, according to a lawsuit later filed by the group, the Detroit police allegedly responded to the protests with “beatings, tear gas, pepper spray, and mass arrests.” Some protesters were hospitalized with serious injuries.

Donald Trump praised Craig for the aggressive response.

“You have a great police chief,” Trump told a Detroit-based reporter in September 2020. ” I watch him. I really like him a lot. Say hello to him. I think he’s terrific. I think he’s just an incredible representative; he speaks so well about a very important subject, which is crime and rioting, and all the things you see in certain cities.”

But when Trump supporters went into the vote-counting facility the day after the election, there were no violent responses from the police reported.

“What they conveniently left out, they were peaceful,” James said to a local TV station.

Trump ultimately lost the swing state of Michigan to President Joe Biden after having won it in 2016. After Trump’s loss, his campaign tried to get votes cast in Detroit — which has a large Black population — thrown out and disqualified.

If Craig chooses to run for the Michigan governor seat, his hostility to Black Lives Matter and his appearances on Fox channels follow a well-worn path.

Both Fox Business and its sister network, Fox News, have frequently attacked the Black Lives Matter movement and have often broadcasted racist content denigrating Black people.

At the same time, Fox’s networks have been regularly used as a launching pad for Republican campaigns. Fox is able to use its platforms with millions of viewers to elevate the visibility of individuals, which has also helped candidates and would-be candidates to attract millions in donations.

Most memorably, Trump turned dozens of appearances on Fox into a presidential campaign that ultimately succeeded.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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