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West Michigan Far Right Watch for the week of October 10 – 18: American Patriot Council, Freedom Marches and Police Apologists

October 19, 2020

Welcome to the next installment of West Michigan Far Right Watch, where we keep tabs on the far right in this area and provide a summary of what they are up to and what kind of messages they are promoting in this community.

We have 2 new examples to share with you this week. The first comes to us from the American Patriot Council. The American Patriot Council has been in the news media quite a bit lately, with lots of people calling for the founder of the group, Ryan D. Kelley, to resign from his position in Allendale Township, because of his connection to some of the suspects in the plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer. We have argued that the American Patriot Council’s, even if not directly involved in the kidnapping plot, have created a political climate that has demonized and criminalized government officials for their position on the COVID 19 crisis.

The American Patriot Council also has strong ties to the GOP, as we have noted previously, especially the relationship between Sen. Mike Shirkey and Ryan D. Kelley. The American Patriot Council has also not held back on their support of Donald Trump, especially at their rallies. This coming week, the American Patriot Council is calling for freedom marches all across the US in support of President Trump. They are holding one in Allendale on October 24 and another one in Muskegon on the same day, based on the freedom march locator.

It is also important to note that the group Justice for Black Lives will also be hosting an action on October 24th, in Allendale, Michigan, calling for the removal of the founder of the American Patriot Council, Ryan D. Kelley, from the Allendale Planning Commission.

Our second example comes to us from Voice For the Badge (VFB), which we have written about on  numerous occasions. VFB made an October 14 post on their FB page, where they express outrage that the City of Grand Rapids would purchase scouters for the downtown area, while making cuts to the police budget, allegedly. The folks at VFB provide no evidence of budget cuts, when in fact there have been numerous instance in the last month where the GRPD has received additional funding and likely funding, such as CARES ACT money through Kent County.

Lastly, the VFB throws some share on this writer, because I dared to call them out on their politics. Here is what Johnny Brann Sr. wrote:

Last and most definitely/without question- least.  Jeff Smith/griid I must respond even though every letter I type here is a waste of my time.  Following the VFB page and spewing nothing but lies about the VFB and our board.  Just want to let you know that you are a part of the problem in a major way.  You are a complete opposite of the VFB-we work to unite–you work to divide.  Smith-you most definitely do not like law enforcement so DO NOT call them for ANYTHING at ANYTIME.

You will never see his name on the VFB page again. There—More than enough on him.

As is standard with Brann, he provides no clear refutation of my critique of the VFB and he make spurious claims about VFB unifying people, while I divide people. I don’t really see how they unify people, especially after the so-called Unity Rally they held in downtown GR in July.

Brann also suggests that I should not call the GRPD for anything at anytime. The fact is that I don’t ever call the GRPD for anything. In fact, as a member of the Defund the GRPD Coalition, we are encouraging people to not call the cops when there is a conflict, since most of the calls the GRPD does handle are non-emergency calls, based on their own report. A study done by Hillard Heintze LLC, determined that 70% of calls to the GRPD are non-emergency. In addition, one of the recommendations from the study was that the police did not need to hire more officers and in fact, they could have non-police personnel respond to most of the non-emergency calls. 

The VFB, however, is less interested in facts and more interested in angry rants and unsubstantiated claims.


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