GR Police Had a Different Plan for Curfew Breakers
The Grand Rapids Police Department along with the Michigan National Guard and police officers from other departments in the region had a plan for curfew breakers.
Yesterday I get a call from our station general manager that said CWD will be locking down our building because another George Floyd protest would be happening at 3 p.m. He ask that everyone try and be out of the building by 2 p.m.
Fortunately for everyone else they were able to get their stuff done and be on their way. I on the other hand had too much that needed to be done and live to far away from the station to do my show on time from home so I stayed behind. Plus I wanted to be here in case something happened to our building or that needed to be reported on.
At first I thought the protest would be at Rosa Parks Circle at 3 p.m. but no one was gathering there. My office looks over the park so I have a good view. Then I found out the protest was to start at Van Andel Arena then march to the Grand Rapids Police station.
I park my car in the garage on Ottawa that is directly across from Van Andel and could see only a handful of protesters but I realized the street was blocked off and I wouldn't be able to get my car out anyway which gave me even more reason to stay at work.
I started seeing outside my window from our studio that Michigan National Guard Hum V's were coming into town.
The Grand Rapid Police Department and the National Guard had set up a perimeter around the Grand Rapids Police department and basically no one was getting close to that building.
From seeing the protests and how the police handled the event on Saturday night, they seemed to have learned a harsh lesson but were much more prepared to deal with a crowd than what happened over the weekend. That is not to say they didn't do a good job because under the circumstances, if it wasn't for a police presence the rioting and looting would have been much worse and probably would have spread to more parts of the city.
What I saw yesterday was much different. The GR Police and National Guard had a much more coordinated approach to handling a large crowd. When 7 p.m. hit that was when the protest began to disburse because of the curfew that had been put into place.
Yet there were some protesters that refused to move or leave and things were different.
At 7:10 p.m. all of the police and guard members put on their gas masks. The police brought in a bike squad that moved in front of the Nation Guard and used their bikes as a mobile barricade and began to move people back. One person grabbed one of the bikes and that is when the arresting began. A total of 12 protesters that refused to leave the area and continued to taunt the police found out the hard way and the zero tolerance that was put into place regarding the curfew.
This police and guardsmen did a fine job but I have a feeling that this will be the new look for protesting in Grand Rapids in order to keep the city safe moving forward. It did look like a military state for a few hours but for those who complied with the rules set in place were unaffected, the others learned the hard way.
We as Americans have a right to protest and we should use it when we strongly believe in something. We also as Americans have a right to protest responsibly without violence and without guns. Its free to protest, just make sure you have the proper permits from the city and do it safely to be heard.