Detroit mayor to reevaluate security after receiving hate mail from 'militia-types'

Sarah Rahal George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — Mayor Mike Duggan said his security arrangements will be reevaluated after receiving hate mail from "militia-types" who oppose COVID restrictions.

During a televised conversation Wednesday, Duggan admitted, "man, do I have a lot of hate mail from people outstate." The mayor noted he’s never driven with security, but in light of the FBI saying it uncovered a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and threatening mail directed at him, he will reconsider safety protocols.

"I see what the governor is dealing with," Duggan said during the Detroit Regional Chamber's Mackinac Policy Conversations broadcast, which was live-streamed and televised on Detroit Public Television.

"But when we put in the duplicate orders, I got hate mail from these militia-types around the state, and you start to see the anger that drove this insane kidnapping plan."

WJBK's Roop Raj, left, talks with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan Wednesday during the Mackinac Policy Conversations.

But police Chief James Craig, who is in charge of Duggan's security detail, said that was news to him.

Craig was asked about the hate mail and possible change in the mayor's security plans at a press conference about an unrelated investigation. He said he hadn't heard about it.

"I'm not sure what the mayor indicated, so I'm not going to respond to that," Craig said. "I can tell you as a matter of practice, we conduct queries on a regular basis in terms of a threat to the mayor, a threat to myself or other public officials. At this point, we're not actively investigating anything along those lines."

But Duggan said he met with Whitmer on Tuesday and spoke about divisive rhetoric in the country inspiring hate mail.

“When you look where we are, you know, leadership matters. … People who may not like the way things are right now may not agree with this governor but should understand that civility and decency is a part of the bedrock of our democracy,” he said.

After being asked by WJBK-TV reporter Roop Raj where the city stands on COVID-19 policies, Duggan responded people are put in jeopardy as more restrictions are lifted.

“If we are on the traditional flu trajectory, by December or January, we could be back in crisis mode," he said. "At the very time the governor’s orders are most needed, they are being put in jeopardy. These make absolutely no sense, but I believe these numbers are going to continue to climb into the winter months. And we are going to have to be more vigilant, not less."

Duggan said Detroit had been one of the biggest hot spots in the country early in the outbreak. But, he said, "it was amazing how fast we bent the curve" from partnerships aiding large testing sites.

The city had more than 1,000 people in local hospitals at any given time in March and April, but have declined to an average of 50 cases per day. Most recently this week, cases have jumped to 75 per day. Detroit's total case count is 14,791 and 1,546 deaths from the virus. 

"In the last week, based on what we're getting off of these kind of out-of-state people angry at these local orders, we're starting to have to evaluate that this is a crazy situation," he said. "It's crazy when the risk of public officials are because of people who have whipped themselves into a frenzy over things that we can sit down and talk about."

Twitter: @SarahRahal_