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Kalamazoo may issue press badges for protest coverage

Courtesy City of Kalamazoo Facebook page

The City of Kalamazoo is considering issuing its own credentials to reporters covering protests. That’s after public safety officers arrested an MLive reporter earlier this month (August). He was covering a Proud Boys rally that ended in a violent clash with counter-protestors. At a virtual press event today (Monday), City Manager Jim Ritsema said a city-issued badge could safeguard reporters’ rights.

“When these split second decisions need to be made, we can make sure that the press is protected and observers, and – so they can perform their important role,” said Ritsema.

Ritsema said the city was still working out the details. MLive says reporter Samuel Robinson was wearing a press badge and an MLive backpack when police arrested him. The city says it plans to release footage from the rally in the next week or so.