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Lansing community demands change after wrongful detainment of 12 year old

Posted at 11:30 AM, Aug 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-15 11:30:11-04

LANSING, Mich. — The video of 12-year-old Tashawn Bernard being detained by Lansing Police Department officers has gotten a lot of attention.

In it, you can see Tashawn handcuffed and tossed behind a police car while he was taking out the trash. Later, we learned he was mistaken for a car thief.

“Our son should not have been subject to this interaction with the Lansing Police Department,” said Tashawn’s father Michael Bernard.

The Lansing Police Department called the incident an “unfortunate case of wrong place wrong time,” but we wanted to learn more. Monday, we made made several attempts to get an interview with someone in the department but have had no luck. Others are speaking up and demanding change.

“It’s most unfortunate, that in a rush to close the case, they didn’t do what they should have in advance,” said criminal defense attorney Takura Nyamfukudza, who urges proper training for patrol officers on the laws when approaching someone.

“So an officer could never just say I had a feeling. If you can’t say for this feeling that one and the third one, you should not be having any contact,” Nyamfukudza said.

But community activist Karrington Kelsy said additional training isn’t enough.

Data has shown Black youth tend to be over policed. The Michigan Committee on Juvenile Justice reported that Black kids and teens made up over 75% of Ingham County juvenile arrests in 2021.

“Before we start talking about training, we need to listen to people in the community who are knowledgeable on statistics, resources and what does community investment look like. Because as of right now, none of that stuff has been implemented,” Kelsy said.

And as different opinions come out about how to solve the problem, there seems to be an agreement on one thing, the message to young Tashawn.

“You do not need to be afraid in your community because we love you, and we will always protect you,” Kelsy said.

Larry Wallace

10:16 AM, Jan 03, 2021

Southside Lansing

Neighborhood Reporter

Larry Wallace

Hannah McIlree

5:13 PM, Nov 14, 2022

Holt, Dimondale, Delhi Township

Neighborhood Reporter

Hannah McIlree

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