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After retirement as Detroit’s police chief, James Craig could run for governor as a Republican

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City of Detroit
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Detroit police chief James Craig plans to talk to reporters today amid speculation that he will retire after eight years and consider a turn to politics.

Craig told The Detroit News that he will hold a news conference Monday.

“I’m a lifelong public servant,” Craig said. “I want to continue to serve.”

The 64-year-old Detroit native has been chief since 2013. He returned home after a long police career in Los Angeles and short stints as chief in Cincinnati and Portland, Maine.

“He brought us a mighty long way,” activist Malik Shabazz said. “He brought energy, he brought new life, and he reached out to the community.”

Craig has a high public profile, regularly speaking to the news media and rarely dodging questions about police incidents, even unflattering ones.

Detroit was an exception to the violent protests around the U.S. a year ago after the fatal shooting of George Floyd in Minneapolis. But the city was sued by activists who said officers used excessive force to keep protesters in line. A judge barred the use of tear gas, rubber bullets, batons and other tactics.

Republicans hope Craig decides to challenge Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, in 2022.

“Chief Craig would bring a whole new level of leadership that is exciting,” said Meshawn Maddock, co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party.

At a Saturday news conference, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan didn’t want to speculate and said there was no question which candidate for governor he’d be supporting in 2022.

“I’m not bright enough to know a year from now who's all going to be running on the Republican or Democratic side, but I know for sure whoever's running I'll be strongly supporting Gretchen Whitmer,” he said.

For the past year, Craig has singled out Democratic politicians for criticism over their support for Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

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