Black Man Arrested While Covering White Supremacist Rally
Kalamazoo, Michigan city officials are apologizing after arresting reporter Samuel Robinson on Saturday (August 15), while he was covering a white supremacist rally.
Robinson, who works for MLive, was reporting from a Proud Boys rally and its counterprotest and posted updates on his social media throughout the day. In a video taken by Robinson, he could be heard telling officers several times that he was a member of the media and was arrested with his identification lanyard around his neck.
“I’m being arrested now,” he said in the video. “I’m media, dude. I’m media. I’m with MLive. I’m with MLive.”
The same day, Robinson was released on a $100 bond. He was charged with impeding traffic, which was subsequently dropped. According to MLive, Kalamazoo officials addressed the rally, and apologized for the arrest.
“I apologize for the trauma that it caused to this young man,” Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Karianne Thomas said during a news conference, WOOD-TV reports. “We all respect the sanctity of the press.”
Robinson was among nine adults and one minor who were arrested during Saturday’s event. It’s unclear whether those arrested were members of the Proud Boys or counterprotesters.
In video taken by Robinson, physical altercations between the Proud Boys and counterprotesters happened without police officers present. When cops started responding to the scene after the fights broke out, Robinson recorded what was happening and that’s when he was arrested.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Proud Boys “regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists. They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric.” They also appeared alongside other hate groups at extremist gatherings like the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.