Bat-wielding grandmother confronts protesters in Michigan

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A 75-year-old Michigan woman stood in the middle of the street brandishing a bat, bringing a tense moment to an otherwise peaceful demonstration Wednesday in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The demonstration started in downtown Grand Rapids before meandering through East Grand Rapids, where Karla Anderson stood ready with a baseball bat in case things went awry, WOOD-TV reported.

“I just simply stated, you know, ‘You’re not going to burn down East,'” Anderson told WOOD.

One protester tried to take away her bat. Another tried to put his arms around her and safely moved her to the sidewalk. As the demonstration moved along, another protester got into a verbal confrontation with Anderson. The protester left after he was told he was on private property.

“This (march) is not about Black Lives Matter,” Anderson told WOOD. “This is about racial division, OK? This is about keeping things stirred up.”

East Grand Rapids Mayor Katie Favale repudiated Anderson's behavior.

“Overall, yesterday’s protest was peaceful, which I believe reflects the true spirit of East Grand Rapids,” Favale told WOOD. “Chief (Mark) Herald welcomed the group to our community, walking alongside them to create a dialogue and build trust. As we all work to build a more fair and equitable society, I hope this one incident doesn’t distract from the positive progress that has been made."