UPDATE: WZZM-13 reports that the Grand Rapids Police Department is conducting an internal investigation into the incident.

As protests and riots gripped the nation this weekend, many thought that here in Grand Rapids we would be free of violence but as the sun set Saturday night, fires began to rage in our city.

Before you watch the video and listen to my rant you should know that I support every Americans right to protest.  I do not condone or support rioting, looting, arson, or vandalism and I hope the perpetrators are caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  I also believe that the police at these protests should be held to the same standard as the protesters.

On Saturday night, peaceful protests turned in to violent riots and many arrests ensued.  Local businesses are asking to ID perpetrators who vandalized their stores and even the GRPD set up a portal where you can send videos and photos to help ID rioters.  But the rioters aren't the only ones who might need to be policed.  And that is obvious in a video that depicts a GRPD officer firing a tear gas canister into a protester's head at a range in which the shot could have been lethal.

This video was posted to Instagram with zero context as to what happened before or after the video was shot. All we know is that a protester walked up to police and shouted at them and the police responded with mace and a tear gas canister to the face. But, even without context, if this person committed an unlawful act, he could have and should have been arrested and detained instead of being shot in the head with a projectile.

Regardless of whether this person was rioting, looting (which it appears he was not), or just protesting, the police officer should not have fired a tear gas canister at an unarmed protester's head. That shot could have blinded or even killed the protester. Protesting is not a death sentence. Looting is not a death sentence. And no, even rioting is not a death sentence.

If we want these protests and riots to stop and America to start to heal, we cannot allow for unnecessary and excessive force to be used on protesters. Once again, this person could have easily been arrested without having been maced or shot in the head with a tear gas canister.

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