Official statement from the Proud Boys Michigan Chapter:
This statement is prepared to publicly communicate Proud Boy Michigan Chapter’s (PBMC) experience in Kalamazoo while conducting a Flag-Wave march on August 15th, 2020. Planning for this event began in late spring and early summer. The motivation for the march was to protest the riotous actions of left-wing groups on June 3rd, as well as assaults on Proud Boy’s members the year before in Kalamazoo – perpetrated by left wing activists. In both the events of June 3rd, and in the assaults against Proud Boys months before, PBMC did not find the response of Kalamazoo Public Safety to be satisfactory. It was our conclusion that left-wing radicals were allowed to run wild within the city of Kalamazoo, and our objective was to protest this. During the planning process, it was decided that disinformation would be utilized to distract left wing groups as to our actual intentions. This was done to disrupt an anticipated violent response from left wing groups when viewing our mere presence within an area they have claimed control of. In order to mitigate that violent response, we allowed left wing groups to believe it was our intention to occupy Arcadia Park. We accomplished this by leaking social media posts suggesting Acadia Park was our destination. We surmised left wing groups would occupy the park in anticipation of our arrival, and secure it against our entrance. Our strategy was to have the leftists defend a park we had no interest in entering, while we marched past them, moving on to Bronson Park, where we would have a quick prayer and go home. This would accomplish our mission of protesting their control of Kalamazoo in person, while mitigating actual contact with them. To further disrupt leftist planning, we leaked that our march would begin at 2:00 PM on August 15th. Instead, we left at 1:30 PM, from the parking garage opposite the Sheraton, where we staged our vehicles. Proud Boy chapters have used similar tactics in the past, to the positive effect of mitigating violence. We will continue to use deception as a tactic in the future, to disrupt the planning process of left-wing domestic terrorists. However, our use of deception appears to have also disrupted the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety’s planning process, which was not our intent. Coordination with Kalamazoo public safety was poor. On August 14th, a member of our chapter who is not a member of chapter leadership received a phone call from Lt. Elzinga (Correct spelling unknown) claiming to be an officer with the Department of Public Safety. He told our brother he was calling to request information about the march. The member referred Lt. Elzinga to his personal attorney as he was concerned the caller was someone impersonating a police officer and he had no way to verify the caller’s credentials over the telephone. The attorney to which Lt. Elzinga was referred is not, nor has ever been retained counsel for PBMC. The attorney did speak with Lt. Elzinga, and he confirmed his identity to PBMC.
During PBMC’s contact through legal counsel, it was suggested to Lt. Elzinga that PBMC would cooperate with law enforcement provided the department would sign a binding agreement that coordination would be confidential. In the past, law enforcement in similar jurisdictions has revealed coordination plans to municipal officials – who promptly leak them to left wing constituents. To mitigate this, we routinely request law enforcement keep our plans confidential. After this request was made, the same chapter brother received a phone call from who he believes was Deputy Chief Vernon Coakly. He too was referred to that member’s personal lawyer. To our knowledge, he never contacted our brother’s lawyer. No further attempts were made by Kalamazoo Public Safety to contact PBMC. An official from our club did call the number Lt. Elzinga left our brother’s lawyer. He never returned the call. We speculate the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety was not interested in our binding agreement to not brief left-wing-sympathetic politicians on our plans. As part of our club’s protection plan, eight licensed members of PBMC were concealed carrying handguns, and numerous PBMC were equipped with chemical irritant spray. This spray complied with MCL 750.224, and was lawfully carried for self-defense use. Many members wore personal protective equipment to mitigate blunt force instrument, edged weapon, and gunshot attacks. At no time did any member of PBMC carry a rifle or any other type of long-gun. Those members did not engage in any physical confrontation even when physically struck. We deny the assertion that members of PBMC carried rifles made by Kalamazoo Director of Public Safety Karianne Thomas. At no time did a member of PBMC carry a rifle, impact weapons or paintball guns. We challenge the chief to produce any evidence that would prove her incorrect statements that Proud Boys carried blunt weapons, paint ball guns or rifles. The entire incident is now available on social media. We challenge anyone else to submit an imagine of a Proud Boy with a rifle in Kalamazoo on August 15th. Upon entering downtown Kalamazoo, Proud Boys passing Acadia Park observed black block leftists guarding the entrances to Acadia Park – armed with rifles and ballistic body armor. This was later confirmed by Chief Thomas in the press conference held on August 16th. Considering left wing radicals were heavily armed during their occupation of Acadia Park, our club protection measures appear abundantly reasonable. PBMC stepped off on our march from the Radisson at exactly 1:30PM. At 1:33 we reached Acadia Park and were immediately confronted by assailants armed with ball bats, metal batons, clubs, knives, and even a street sign torn from the ground. Members of PBMC moved off the sidewalk onto Water Street, to create distance between themselves and the assailants. Avoiding direct confrontation was unsuccessful because the side of Water Street opposite Acadia Park is bordered by a high fence. Given no immediate avenue of retreat, and the choice between being beaten with baseball bats, clubs and a street sign, and self-defense – Proud Boys chose self-defense. Proud Boys deployed chemical irritants, and used control techniques and strikes and blows to stop assaults against them. Deadly force via baseball bats, batons and other blunt weapons was used by left wing domestic terrorists on numerous occasions, and Proud Boys lawfully justified in the use of deadly force in return, elected to use a lesser degree of force to preserve the lives of those trying to kill them.
Proud Boys made their way along Water Street under sporadic attacks and turned onto Edwards Street, where they again used lawful self-defense to break contact with left wing extremists. During our movement down Edwards St., members of PBMC heard police loudspeakers ordering us to leave the area. To comply, with police orders, we made our way off Edwards. We heard the police, but at that time had yet to see a single officer as evidenced by video readily available. After a protracted altercation along Edwards St., Proud Boys were able to reach Bronson Park, where for the first time that day we encountered a member of law enforcement, a single officer who later called an unmarked unit to arrest a left-wing perpetrator brandishing a club. The mere presence of a single officer ended the melee and no further assaults occurred on August 15th. After regrouping in Bronson Park, PBMC returned to the parking garage across from the Sheraton where it prepared to strong point that position. Numerous leftist assailants surrounded the structure and attempted to attack us inside, block our exit, and attack us as we left in our vehicles. This is when a significant State Police presence arrived and we were able to leave, as leftists threw rocks and other projectiles in the presence of officers. We were on the street for 70 minutes, and coupled with the incident at the parking garage, our protest lasted a total of 90 minutes. It has been noted we removed our license plates. This is true. Leftist domestic terrorists use them to find our homes and attack us there. Given the alternative, we were happy to risk the civil infraction. During the aftermath of this event, several members of the Kalamazoo city government and leftist activists have stated Proud Boys are not welcome in Kalamazoo. Many leftist activists have stated we should have been targeted by law enforcement simply for walking down a public road because they find conservative Republicans abhorrent and fascist. We would note we do not require the permission of the Mayor to move through an American city on the public street, nor do we require the welcome of domestic terrorists to exist. We will return to Kalamazoo any time we so choose. This is America, not Venezuela. Next, when told to leave Kalamazoo by law enforcement, we obeyed the command. Therefore, none of us were arrested. Three Proud Boys sustained minor injuries. We believe this was due to our deployment of chemical irritants, which allowed us to refrain from utilizing more lethal forms of defense when confronted by club wielding maniacs being directed by a left-wing pastor with a megaphone, backed up by armed terrorists. We suggest to the leftist activist community that if you would like to avoid arrest, try our model. Be non-violent and obey officers. You stay out of jail and the hospital better that way. For those in Kalamazoo city government who claim to reject our values of hate – we merely ask who do we hate? African American Proud Boys, Asian Proud Boys, Jewish Proud Boys, Arab Proud Boys, Hispanic Proud Boys were all represented as photo and video documentation of our protest prove. We hate no one, but we do pity those that must resort to violence when confronted by those who are enraged by those who vote for a different political party than they do, and support the current President of the United States. We implore the members of Kalamazoo Law Enforcement and the City Council to stop their pandering to left wing domestic terrorists, and restore law and order to down town Kalamazoo. Your Republican citizens live in fear of displaying their political affiliation, your parks are covered in needles, urine, feces, and you have shootings and murders almost nightly.
Thus, we find it ironic that the Kalamazoo City council and the leadership of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety have created mighty strange bed fellows. For the first time in the history of American politics, Antifa, BLM, and Proud Boys, are all in agreement about something. The performance of Kalamazoo Public Safety was woefully inadequate. We too would have liked to see better enforcement from the 111 Kalamazoo Police on duty on August 15th. We did not seek a fight, and were happy to have officers restrain enraged leftist-terrorists. We suspect those officers were more than willing to do their jobs, and speculate that they were not allowed to do their job by incompetent leadership. Therefore – for once – we join BLM and leftist extremists in calling for change in leadership of that organization – though we doubt we have the same change in mind. How demoralizing it must be for good street cops, to hear your pandering to criminals and terrorists? They must cringe every time you speak publicly. Stop this, do your jobs, and restore order to Kalamazoo.