Whitmer after Michigan riots: 'Historic inequities of racial injustice coming to a tipping point'

The governor addressed Michigan residents after riots destroyed parts of downtown Grand Rapids on Saturday night.

Last Updated:
June 1, 2020 - 11:40am

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    On Saturday night, in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, what was meant to be a silent march turned into a destructive riot, as people broke into businesses to steal from them and set police cars ablaze.

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist released a video statement on Sunday afternoon, addressing the rioters and peaceful protestors.

    “I’m angry not at the peaceful demonstrators who largely convened thoughtfully with the conviction of their cause. I’m angry at the people who are abusing this pain to further their own agenda,” the governor said.

    “Those that came into communities of color under the guise of support, but who instigated violence and vandalism … They’ll go home and it will be black businesses and communities that will be destroyed in their wake,” she continued.

    Whitmer has reached some national prominence these last months as she was met with praise from some and intense criticism from others over her strict coronavirus lockdown orders. Her name has also circulated as a potential frontrunner for the Biden campaign's vice presidential selection.

    Of the Saturday night riots that damaged parts of downtown Grand Rapids, Whitmer said, “We are seeing the historic inequities of racial injustice coming to a tipping point.”

    Rioters destroyed the windows at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, considered one of the city’s most beautiful buildings, in addition to breaking the windows of the police department building, which also houses a branch of the secretary of state’s office.

    On Sunday, the mayor of Grand Rapids, Rosalynn Bliss, ordered a civil emergency proclamation, which calls for the National Guard to help protect the city after the riot. There is also a 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in place for the time being.

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