Detroit, MI – Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig announced he was running for governor on Tuesday morning on Belle Isle as Black Lives Matter protesters surrounded and screamed at him.
Protesters chanted “Black Lives Matter” and No justice, No peace. James Craig is still the police,” The Detroit News reported.
They also held up signs that read “No Craig” and called the black, Republican former police chief a racist, and accused him of aiding “Nazis.”
Video of the event filmed by the news media showed that when Craig took the podium, he was surrounded by screaming activists.
Security tried to hold back one of the protesters who got into the gubernatorial candidate’s face and started pointing, the video showed.
Craig’s campaign team cut the announcement short when it was clear the candidate couldn’t be heard over the shouting protesters, WXYZ reported.
“I just have one thing to say, I’m running for governor of the State of Michigan,” the former police chief said into the microphone, but it couldn’t be heard over the shouting and whistles.
— 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
Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig’s campaign kickoff in Belle Isle for Governor has been halted by protesters from the Detroit Will Breathe activism group. pic.twitter.com/D0tcyQLhgO
— Samantha Shriber (@SamanthaShriber) September 14, 2021
At that point, the campaign team changed the location of the full announcement to elsewhere and the group left, The Detroit News reported.
Some of the people who had attended the announcement were upset that the Black Lives Matter group had disrupted it.
Carl Meyers told The Detroit News that he’d taken off work to hear the former police chief’s thoughts on the future of the state and fiscal policy.
But instead of learning about the candidate, he was taunted by aggressive protesters, The Detroit News reported.
“It’s not right, in America, that somebody would be denied the right to speak,” Meyers said. “[The protesters] were able to be heard, and they should have let [Craig] be heard too.”
The former police chief is the most high-profile Republican candidate so far to announce plans to run against Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, The Detroit News reported.
So far, 10 GOP candidates have former fundraising committees for the 2022 gubernatorial.
The winner of the primary in August of 2022 will face Whitmer in the November election next year, according to The Detroit News.
Chief Craig retired from the Detroit Police Department on June 1 after eight years as the city’s top cop amid speculation that he planned to challenge Whitmer.
He called his retirement “bittersweet” after 44 years in law enforcement, WDIV reported.
Craig is a Detroit native who started his law enforcement career with the Detroit Police Department in 1977, the Detroit Free Press reported.
He left the department because of staffing cuts and join the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) where he rose to the rank of captain and retired after 28 years.
Craig next became chief of police in Portland, Maine, the Detroit Free Press reported.
He stayed in Portland for two years before become Cincinnati’s police chief.
Craig returned to Detroit in 2013 to head up his hometown police force, the Detroit Free Press reported.
“The best part of my career has been right here in the city of Detroit,” the police chief told reporters at his retirement announcement.
The retiring 64-year-old chief said that 2020 had been the hardest year of his decades-long career on the police force, the Detroit Free Press reported.
“Our profession, nationally, is in crisis,” he said. “I’ve coined the phrase: Cops count, leadership matters. The vast majority do it right, and let’s face it the aggression against our police officers is unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed.”