Former police chief Steven Bukula spent nearly 25 years on the police force in Lowell, Michigan, but says he was forced to resign by the city manager after a post on the department’s Facebook page stirred up critics who accused the chief of racism, homophobia, and encouraging vigilantism. What on earth could Bukula have said that sparked such an outcry?
“The Lowell Police Department supports the Second Amendment and the armed citizen.”
That’s it. Nothing more.
Bukula joins me on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, along with his attorney Katherine Henry, to discuss the Facebook post, his forced resignation, and the outpouring of support for the chief from Lowell residents in the wake of his dismissal.
The situation began a couple of weeks ago, when four armed citizens took to the streets of Lowell intent on protecting local businesses from the riots and looting that had recently taken place in nearby Grand Rapids. The Facebook post by Bukula showed the four men, informed the public that the department was aware of what was going on, but that no laws were being broken. Bukula then added that last line, but when some of the comments on the post began criticizing Bukula and the department, the city manager allegedly told Bukula to make a choice: resign by 5:00 p.m. or be fired at 5:01.
Bukula, who’d been with the department since 1995 and was named chief in 2013, told me he reluctantly tendered his resignation under duress, in part because he was afraid that if he was fired he wouldn’t be able to complete a refinancing of his home mortgage that was underway.
As word of the resignation spread throughout the small town, support for Bukula began appearing online, and he says he’s been overwhelmed by the staggering number of residents who’ve spoken up in his defense.
Supporters have rallied around Bukala. A GoFundMe page set up for him raised nearly $8,000 in its first two days. A demonstration denouncing the chief’s ouster was held in Lowell over the weekend.
“I’ll be honest with you. I was choked up and I was at a loss for words,” Bukala said.
But he also said some of that support has turned vile. Bukala said Lowell’s city manager has received threats, something Bukala denounced as wrong and inappropriate.
Katherine Henry, Bukala’s attorney, said she and the former chief are considering legal options. They plan to address the Lowell City Council at the board’s next scheduled meeting Monday at City Hall. Henry said they plan to make requests of city leaders but asking for Bukala’s job back isn’t part of the plan.
Bukala said some city council members have been at odds with him and he doesn’t want to return to work under those condition.
I can’t say I blame him. Ultimately, the reason why Bukula was told to step down or be fired is because he took the completely uncontroversial position of respecting the Second Amendment. As he told me on today’s program, every city council member and elected official in Lowell has taken an oath to the same Constitution that Bukula did. Do these council members not support the Second Amendment? Do they not support the concept of the armed citizen? If that’s the case, they’re the ones that need to step down, and if they do support the right of the people to keep and bear arms, then they should stand by their oath and defend the Second Amendment and their local chief when the department takes a pro-Constitution stand as well.
Be sure to check out the entire interview with Bukula and attorney Katherine Henry in the video window above, and stick around afterwards for even more news, including an arrest for a murder at a protest in Davenport, Iowa where the suspect had repeated run-ins with the law but failed to ever receive any time behind bars for his violent crimes; an armed citizen in Shreveport, Louisiana who defended her brother from a pair of armed robbers; and an off-duty police officer in Houston, Texas in the right place at the right time to save the life of a woman severely injured in an auto accident.