Staff writer Sherri Kolade and Digital Reporter Andre Ash contributed to this report.
DETROIT — Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who retired this past June, will now be running against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2022.
In the past, Craig did not explicitly say that he would run in the gubernatorial race, but he was scheduled to make his announcement today officially at Belle Isle.
Not everyone is pleased with his decision, though and let it be known.
About 10 minutes after his announcement was slated to begin at 10 a.m. this morning, protesters took to Belle Isle’s Sunset Point, on foot, and said, “Hey hey, ho ho, James Craig has got to go!” according to the article.
They also said, “James Craig is full of hate! We won’t let him win out state,” according to the article, which added that protestors began to chant “Black Lives Matter,” along with, “no justice, no peace. James Craig is still the police,” the article added.
Some supporters chanted “Craig! Craig! Craig!”
During the protest, Craig went to speak at a podium, but the protestors didn’t let up in their chants, which did not allow for him to be heard. Craig eventually left the podium where he as then followed by at least 30 protesters who rushed Craig and his security detail to their vehicle.
While Craig has been in favor with local civil rights activists in the past, many have turned their support away from the soon-to-be Republican candidate, remarking that Detroit officers used excessive force during past demonstrations after George Floyd’s death, while he was police chief.
Following the brief podium announcement, Craig and his team left the island and quickly scrambled to set up an alternate campaign site.
An hour after the Belle Isle fiasco, Craig addressed it. “This was small group of paid protesters who did nothing …that shouldn’t not have happened. I know that group. I was around that group all last year.”
Craig’s campaign team moved to the former UAW-GM union building near Jefferson Ave, where the republican gubernatorial candidate gave his campaign announcement speech in a more controlled roof-top setting which overlooked the Detroit river and downtown skyline.
“The inconsistent, incompetent by so many politicians just further highlights the need for new leadership”, said James Craig. There were several moments during his speech where he talked bout the “vacuum of leadership” in Michigan. “Many of the supposed leaders of today simply do not lead.”
Craig went on to talk about the struggle of businesses to stay afloat, education of students amid COVID-19, but “not because of the pandemic”, as Craig explained, “but because of Lansing’s response to it”.
“Our Governor has been more focused on political science instead of actual science”.
Craig talked about growing up in a Democratic party household and life experiences which lead him to switch parties. His position as police chief across multiple police departments the nation he said puts in him the position of understanding leadership and knowing what it’ going to take to be the next CEO of Michigan.
The winner of the August 2022 primary will go against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who is expected to run for reelection, according to the article.