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Kalamazoo city commission meeting addresses violence at Proud Boys demonstration

Monday's city commission meeting discussed the police response to violence between Proud Boys and counter-protesters.
Credit: AP
Members of the far-right group Proud Boys clash with counter-protesters in downtown Kalamazoo, Mich., Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. (MLive Media Group via AP)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Some strong words Monday night from city leaders in Kalamazoo.

"I'm speaking for this commission and I'm speaking for city administration, we in no way support the views or the actions of the Proud Boys group that was in town over the weekend," says Kalamazoo Mayor David Anderson.

The Proud Boys are a white nationalist group that held a demonstration in Kalamazoo on Saturday. At Monday's commission meeting city leaders denied approving any permits for the protest.

RELATED: Kalamazoo city leaders explain police tactics use during Proud Boys violence

"There was no steps taken by anyone in administration or me as the Mayor to approve a permit or request to facilitate this group coming into town," says Anderson.

Things turned violent when the group clashed with counter-protesters. Nine people were arrested but according to City Manager Jim Ritsema some of those arrests were a mistake.

"I know Public Safety is going back and reviewing body cam footage to see what transpired leading up to the arrest and we'll go from there as far as each individual arrest goes," says Ritsema.

RELATED: Far right Proud Boys group clashes with counter-protesters in Kalamazoo

Leaders say they will also review preparations from law enforcement but they did emphasize that free speech is protected.

"This is the case for that group that came to town no matter how abhorrent those views may be, expressing of those views is protected by the first amendment of the constitution," says Anderson.

RELATED: Protesters line up in front of police department after violence at Proud Boys rally

Watch the city commission meeting here:

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