Former Detroit police chief James Craig, 65, tried to hold a press conference in a state park Tuesday to announce his candidacy for the governor of Michigan, but had to cut it short when a mob of aggressive left-wing agitators prevented him from speaking.
As soon as he reached the podium at Belle Isle Park to make his announcement, the political newcomer was swarmed by dozens of leftists who blasted air horns, raised their fists, flipped the bird, and screamed “hey hey, ho ho, James Craig has got to go!”
Agitators from Detroit Will Breathe (DWB) held signs that read “Racist Ass Republican Craig,” “James Craig Gives Nazis guided tours,” and “Defund DPD (Detroit Police Dept.).
As the mob of mostly white activists pressed in on the candidate from all sides, his staff formed a human shield around him, and local media reporters thrust their microphones up to his face so he could be heard above the din. But still, it was impossible to hear the candidate speak. One particularly menacing agitator was able to get disturbingly close to the black Republican, pointing angrily at him, shoving a staffer, and shouting profanities.
Craig finally shouted, “I’ve got one thing to say: I’m running for governor!” Then, forced to cut his speech short, he walked away as his staff pushed back against the agitators still pursuing him and his team.
— Mandi Wright (@DetroitMandi) September 14, 2021
CHAOS: James Craig attempted to start his gubernatorial campaign press conference in Detroit and was shouted down by protesters. He stood at the podium momentarily and then took off. His entourage just drove off on Belle Isle. pic.twitter.com/cMh2EjW0O1
— Chad Livengood (@ChadLivengood) September 14, 2021
According to the Detroit Free Press, Craig was eventually able to deliver his remarks from the rooftop of Icon Detroit, where he “touted his law enforcement experience and blasted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s approach to fighting the pandemic.”
Craig reportedly stressed his leadership skills using his campaign slogan “leading from the front.”
During an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, Tuesday night, the candidate said he recognized the agitators from the George Floyd protests in the summer of 2020, and claimed that they came from outside of the city.
“Oh, I know them very well, Tucker, Craig said. “Summer of Love, 2020.”
He said the same activists had tried to “silence” him last year, too. “They wanted me to leave Detroit, last year. I said most of YOU need to leave. These folks are from outside the city, and they’re not speaking for anybody in the city!”
Craig brushed off their aggressive behavior, saying, “what they did today? Not a big deal because most Michiganders are sick and tired of that madness.” The former law enforcement chief told Carlson that members of the left-wing group still have a chip on their shoulders because law enforcement “won” last year. “I know several of the members,” he explained.
Under Craig’s leadership, Detroit Police was largely successful in preventing riots or at least limiting the damage from riots caused by the George Floyd protests. During an appearance on FNC’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, on July 28, 2020, when he was still the police chief, Craig said: “We don’t retreat here in Detroit.”
“We’re just not going to do it,” Craig added. “You saw the images, Tucker, of streets where there was lawlessness, looting, burning, no sight of police officers. We weren’t giving up ground to the radicals.”
It’s a different story, however, when someone weaker is in charge.
Craig said he had an official permit to use the state park, and had notified the local law enforcement agency to let them know he would be making his announcement there. He said he was assured that police knew about the agitators and would be there to provide order.
“Guess what Tucker? No show. And when they did show, it was [shrug] ‘we don’t know what to do’ basically, and they left. Left!” he exclaimed. “And you saw the video, it became very tense.”
Craig said Democrat Governor Whitman needs to be held accountable for her dereliction of duty.
“She oversees the Michigan State Police, and the Department of Resources that covers the island. I know this is not accidental,” he asserted.
Whitmer spokesman Bobby Leddy hit back at Craig, calling his complaints “a baseless attack.”
Leddy told the Detroit News that law enforcement was immediately dispatched when a problem arose.
A State Police sergeant was sent to Belle Isle Tuesday morning in response to a 911 call that “indicated there were approximately 200 protesters on the island,” said Shanon Banner, spokeswoman for the Michigan State Police. But when the sergeant arrived, he found only about 20 people remaining, she said.
“They were peaceful and no violations of law were observed, so no contact was made with the individuals and the sergeant left the island,” Banner said.
“This didn’t look like an organic groundswell of political fervor from the city of Detroit,” Carlson noted, going on to ask why the organized agitators hate him so much.
“They lost last year,” Craig said. “They wanted to incite riotous behavior, [and] in Detroit, unlike all those cities you’ve heard me talk about—L.A., Chicago, Portland, Seattle—they couldn’t get it done.”
He added, “I took a strong stand with them. We’re not retreating here in Detroit. You’re not going to burn Detroit. And we won be cause good Detroiters said ‘that’s not going to happen in our city.’