Photographer says he captured ‘viral’ images of GR riots


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich – After taking photos of a peaceful protest earlier today on May 30, 2020, Andy Visockis and his camera captured the chaos as darkness fell and riots broke out in downtown Grand Rapids.

“It was strange to hear giant windows smash and then the crowd cheering,” Visockis recalls. “I kind of started taking pictures of the people who were disturbing… I kind of thought I should probably wear a helmet of some kind, because some people were just throwing things, especially around cars from. police or brick. buildings. “

His photos documented the destruction when shops were broken into and police cars were set on fire.

“People were jumping right on top of police cars, smashing windows, throwing stop signs at police cars and cruisers,” he told FOX 17 News. “It was quite surreal going through this, in the city where I grew up. I never imagined something like this would have happened here.”

Visockis uploaded some of the most surprising images online, where they quickly went viral.

“I was instantly receiving thousands and thousands of shares,” he said. “It was all the time – I actually turned off my phone for a few hours because it was ringing constantly … I still can’t believe that so many thousands and thousands of people shared, liked, made comments on the photos in no time. grain of western Michigan, when you think about the size of the world. “

And the photos helped capture more than the story: Visockis shared them with the police, help bring several suspects to justice.

“I started getting emails from detectives in Wyoming, Grand Rapids,” Visockis explained. “I must have testified several times in court… I think someone from the prosecutor’s office told me, like eight to eleven, somewhere in this stadium, that they had been identified, questioned, prosecuted and charged. , etc. “

Although he risked his own safety to capture what was happening that night, Visockis said he had no regrets.

“If it happened again, I would definitely do it again,” he said. “I felt offended like a lot of other people standing next to me watching this, so I’m happy that people are being held accountable for their actions.”

READ MORE: How GR’s peaceful protest turned violent 1 year ago

READ MORE: Last year’s ‘record’ global protests were effective in making a difference

READ MORE: Timeline of FOX 17’s coverage of civil unrest in Grand Rapids

READ MORE: Black Lives Matter activists reflect on year since civil unrest in Kalamazoo

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