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Hot Pursuit

A bizarre chase on US-23

by James Leonard

From the April, 2018 issue

Rumors abounded on social media the night of March 4 that "white nationalist" Richard Spencer had been arrested in Ann Arbor. At the time Spencer--who wants to create "a White Ethno-State on the North American continent"--had just aborted a planned "conference" in Detroit and was scheduled to speak at MSU the next day.

The East Lansing event turned into a melee, with a handful of Spencer supporters beset by "anti-fascist" opponents. And the rumors were right that there was indeed a local preview, though Spencer himself was not involved. A Pittsfield police report describes a highway chase between the two groups that began and ended in Ann Arbor--and culminated in the arrest of Spencer supporter Jonathan Kolanowski on gun charges.

Ironically, the twenty-four-year-old Royal Oak resident himself had called 911--he was one of seven people in the car being pursued. According to the police report, several identified themselves as members of a "far-right nationalist group."

According to witness statements, a second car filled with protestors--later claimed to be affiliated with "Great Lakes AntiFa"--pursued Kolanowski's group from the Westgate Staples parking lot up and down US-23 and finally to the Shell station at Washtenaw and Carpenter.

At some point during the forty-five-minute chase, a passenger in the Kolanowski car allegedly lifted a pistol into view of their pursuers. When police arrived on the scene, they found a handgun belonging to Kolanowski.

Though Kolanowski did not publicly identify himself with any group, he's represented in court by Spencer associate Kyle Bristow. Kolanowski had a concealed-carry permit for the gun, but he was on probation for domestic assault, and his permit had been suspended. According to the Ann Arbor News, Bristow argued that his client wasn't properly notified of the suspension. Spencer, meanwhile, has announced that he's ended his "college tour."    (end of article)

[Originally published in April, 2018.]


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