KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Kalamazoo police repeatedly deployed tear gas early Tuesday as they responded to vandalism of downtown buildings.
That was hours after vandals broke windows at multiple businesses and tagged some graffiti in the area of the Kalamazoo Mall. Police responded in riot gear, moving around the downtown area following small groups of people and intermittently using tear gas to get them to break up.
The first sign of trouble was late Monday night when someone smashed some of the windows at the Kalamazoo County Courthouse. A short time later, around 11:30 p.m., a group of police rushed across the street and appeared to arrest one person.
Shortly after midnight, the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety reported the “active vandalism” and said officers were responding. people were told to stay away.
Around 12:20 a.m., KDPS tweeted that responding officers were “meeting significant resistance from agitators” amid multiple reports of vandalism.
In a release, the city of Kalamazoo said police were dealing with “large crowds,” including some people destroying property.
By 1 a.m., those crowds were not large, but there were several smaller groups of people.
Around 2 a.m., police warned people they had five minutes to leave or they would be arrested. It looked like perhaps one person was taken into custody, but police broke their line around 2:15 a.m. without arresting any more.
Around 5:30 a.m., firefighters responded to a fire at a vacant building in the Northside neighborhood. Investigators believe the fire to be suspicious.
Hours earlier in Kalamazoo, people had protested outside the courthouse over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and police brutality around the country. That protest, which wrapped up around 7:30 p.m., was very peaceful, with people praying, singing and lying face-down on the crowd to memorialize Floyd.