Former Detroit police chief launches possible run for governor on racist Fox host's show

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Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig announced an exploratory committee on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight.'

The former chief of the Detroit Police Department, James Craig, appeared Wednesday night on the Fox News show "Tucker Carlson Tonight" and announced that he had launched "the Chief James Craig for Governor Exploratory Committee."

"I gotta tell you, I'm running," Craig said.

Craig, who is Black, told host Tucker Carlson that he had previously promised to make the announcement on Carlson's show.

Carlson has a history of making racist comments about multiple ethnic groups.

Introducing Craig, who recently resigned from his position as police chief, Carlson praised him for "competency" and "clarity" in doing his job. Craig urged Carlson's viewers to go to his exploratory committee website, where they are encouraged to make donations.

"I appreciate the opportunity," Craig told Carlson, concluding, "We're going to take the state back."

Craig, who repeated both in the video on his site and in his appearance on Carlson's show that "Detroit did not burn" during the anti-racism protests sparked in 2020 by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, has come under criticism for how his department allegedly treated protesters who marched that summer in opposition to police brutality against Black people.

Craig is named as a defendant in a lawsuit brought in August 2020 by the nonprofit group Detroit Will Breathe and a number of individuals that accuses the department of responding to the protests with "beatings, tear gas, pepper spray, and mass arrests."

The suit claims:

Multiple demonstrators were hospitalized, and legal observers, members of the press, and bystanders were severely beaten and arrested, prompting numerous calls for an independent investigation.

 

[...]

 

Defendants responded with unjustified violence to these protests in direct reaction to the fact that the protests confront the racial disparity in police violence and the systemic racism that pervades our society. By contrast, DPD has protected other protesters in recent history — including protests led by white supremacists -- rather than subjecting them to arbitrary curfews, excessive force, and unlawful arrests. Defendants’ treatment of racial justice demonstrators based on the racial content of their message violates their rights pursuant to the First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, and 42 U.S.C. § 1981.

On his show, Carlson has frequently derided the protests. He has referred to protesters as "thugs" and "vampires" and falsely claimed Black Lives Matters protesters were pushing for "a permanently unequal society where some citizens are elevated and others are crushed."

During the same period that the officers under Craig's command were being accused of harsh treatment, Carlson compared those marching against injustice to a child throwing a temper tantrum "after getting a bad grade or losing a game." Carlson has also described the effort to reform racist policing as a "sick religion."

When Donald Trump praised how the Detroit police handled the protests, describing Craig as a "great police chief" and noting, "I really like him a lot," Craig was asked about his own party affiliation. He said, "I'm an American police officer who claims no party but relies on doing what is right and common sense. I align with both conservatives and liberals, depending on the issues."

In addition to Craig, there are seven declared candidates for the Republican nomination to challenge Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). Whitmer was elected in 2018 by a 10-percentage point margin, and the Cook Political Report rates the race "Lean D." Joe Biden defeated Trump in the state in 2020, flipping it after Trump won there in 2016.

In addition to his open hostility toward Black Lives Matter, Carlson has for years made racist comments on his Fox show. In 2018, several companies pulled their advertising from his show after Carlson said immigration makes America "poorer and dirtier."

Carlson has endorsed the white nationalist "great replacement" conspiracy theory that immigrants are coming to America to replace the white population. In February, he said teaching schoolchildren about racism is itself "race hate."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.