Chief Craig: Neo-Nazis 'wanted a Charlottesville No. 2' in Detroit

click to enlarge Detroit Police Chief James Craig. - STEVE NEAVLING
Steve Neavling
Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said armed neo-Nazis who marched with riot shields during Motor City Pride over the weekend “wanted a Charlottesville No. 2.”

Craig was referring to a “Unite the Right rally” in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12, 2017, when white supremacists clashed with counterprotesters and a car plowed into a group of anti-racist protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring 19 others.

During a press conference Monday afternoon, Craig said police gathered “intelligence” that suggested members of the National Socialist Movement “were trying to bait the police department and the other side” into resorting to violence.

Despite the dangers, neither the city nor the police notified the public.

On Saturday, about a dozen neo-Nazis marched, tore up a rainbow flag and hurled insults at the LGBTQ+ community. About the same number of police officers created a barrier around the neo-Nazis.

Asked why police protected white supremacists who advocate violence, Craig said the “No. 1 mission was to keep the peace.”

“We took no sides,” Craig said. “Everyone has a right to freedom of speech. You don’t have a right to engage in unlawful conduct.”

The chief claimed “both sides at different times were using racial epithets” aimed at black officers.

“Both sides were wrong,” Craig said, offering no evidence that anti-fascists used racial epithets.

No one was injured during the protest, the chief said.

“We view this as a success because no one was hurt.”

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
Scroll to read more Metro Detroit News articles
Join the Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.