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Kalamazoo commissions independent report on response to protests

Public domain

An outside group wants to hear inside stories from people in Kalamazoo who have experiences with the protests in the city.

Kalamazoo was one of many cities with protests after police officers in Minneapolis killed George Floyd. There were also violent clashes at a demonstration in August by the Proud Boys, a group tied to white nationalism.

Kalamazoo’s public safety chief was fired after public criticism of how the events were handled.

Now, the city has commissioned an independent review, and the firm hired to conduct the review is looking for public input.

Michael Gennaco is principal of the California-based OIR Group. He told city commissioners earlier this month that the firm doesn’t have experience in Kalamazoo.

“That outside perspective means that we don’t have any prior connections, opinions, perspectives, et cetera with regard to your city,” Gennaco said. “And our prior connections won’t impact the way in which we look at this incident, because we don’t have any prior connections.”

But, Gennaco says the group needs residents to help understand what happened during the demonstrations, and how the city handled it.

OIR Group is hosting two virtual meetings for residents to give input. The meetings are on January 11th and 25th, both at 6 p.m. More details are online here

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Radio’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Radio since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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