Michigan County Commissioner withdraws his gun in virtual meeting when resident asks board to denounce Proud Boys


Keli MacIntosh, a 72-year-old retired nurse and a regular board member, spoke at Wednesday’s rally about the importance of speaking out against Proud Boys activities on behalf of a woman who has defended herself. expressed before her on the same subject.

The first woman criticized the board of directors for allowing members of the group to speak at a meeting in March regarding the county’s transformation into a “gun sanctuary.”

The woman and MacIntosh told the board that normalizing the Proud Boys, a far-right group, was damaging the community and called on commissioners to speak out against their actions in light of the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6.

“It’s really hard to tell the difference between the Proud Boys and the message they want across our state, how it’s different from what happened in Washington,” MacIntosh said at the meeting. “Hosting such a group and spreading this message has changed the environment in northern Michigan from a hunting culture to a gun culture. And I am very, very concerned.”

While she bemoaned the Proud Boys being asked to talk about gun rights, board vice chairman Ron Clous stood up and returned with a large pistol, which he briefly carried. held against his chest before putting it down.

MacIntosh said she saw Nails stand up out of the corner of her eye as she spoke, but was shocked when she saw what he came back with.

“My request was, can you please make a public statement denouncing the Proud Boys, and his statement was to push an assault rifle in my face,” MacIntosh told CNN. “I didn’t think he was going to shoot me across the screen or anything like that. But the first thing I thought was, how can anyone feel free to talk for fear of not test the temperament of the commissioner, or you will have him be reamed on the coals by them.

Nails did not respond to CNN’s request to comment on events during the meeting. He said The record eagle he recovered his rifle in response to the board’s request to denounce the group.

“I was also going to jump in,” Clous said. “I was just going to show the gun and show that I fully support the Second Amendment, but then I chose not to… I was home.”

Since the events of January 6, MacIntosh has said she has felt compelled to ask the board to publicly denounce the actions of the Proud Boys, especially given what has happened in the state regarding the extremism in recent months.

But after the first woman had finished speaking, Rob Hentschel, chairman of the council of commissioners, interrupted the public comment period to respond to claims that the Proud Boys were receiving preferential treatment.

“I’m going to take a brief hiatus right now because of the innuendo of racism in this advice, and because I take it very seriously. If a particular Commissioner wishes to speak out against a particular hate group, that’s fine,” Hentschel said.

He took issue with some of the claims about the March meeting where the “gun sanctuary” was discussed before defending the Proud Boys themselves.

“I’m not a member of the Proud Boys. I didn’t give a Proud Boy 20 minutes at the commissioner’s meeting. But I know a few Proud Boys, I’ve met a few. I’ve met Black. Proud Boys, I met some multiracial Puerto Rican Proud Boys, and they informed me that they also have gay Proud Boys. I don’t see what a hate group that is. And I don’t really appreciate that this forum is used to spread misinformation about me or about groups. ”

MacIntosh, who was invited to comment from the audience right after Hentschel’s statement, said she was already very nervous about speaking because she thought she could be called the same. Time was called before she could finish her remarks.

About 10 minutes later, she started getting calls from the community asking if she was okay and feeling safe. She said she had received tremendous support from the community, including offers to stay elsewhere temporarily or even people volunteering to guard her home.

When asked by CNN if he thought Clous’s actions were appropriate, Hentschel replied that he wouldn’t pass judgment on it, but “probably wouldn’t have done it myself.”

“Mr. Clous did not break any rules or laws in what he did,” Hentschel said in a statement. “The allegations of bullying are greatly exaggerated. The speaker has been a regular commentator for over 2 years who has often criticized but has always been welcomed by the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners.”

Clous also told the Record Eagle that he would not denounce any group, including Black Lives Matter, the NFL or LBGTQ.

“The only thing I know about them (Proud Boys) is when they came to talk to us,” Clous said. “They were probably the most respected people who stood up and spoke (at the March meeting). They were decent guys and they treated us with respect.”

MacIntosh said she filed a report with the Michigan State Troopers, but it’s unclear where it will go from there. When asked if she plans to speak again at future meetings, she laughed and responded with a forceful “Yes”.

“I may seem like a little old lady with gray hair to these people, but I’m going to stay there,” she said. “We can’t back down, the reason our country is like this is because not a single person in Washington said anything about what was going on. We can’t leave that unchallenged, we can’t help but fight. “


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