EAST LANSING, Mich. — Video footage from the April 25 police shooting at the Lake Lansing Road Meijer shows the 21-year-old man who was shot fleeing from police at the time of the shooting.
East Lansing police officers were responding to a report of a man with a gun and pursued the man out of the store.
Footage from security cameras outside of the Meijer store and body camera footage from four officers who responded to the scene show the man circling through cars in the parking lot as he fled.
At one point, an officer shouts, "He's reaching. He's reaching. He's got a gun," as the man runs away from him. The officer then opens fire.
A second officer shot, as well, and seems to be the one whose shots struck the man.
The man didn't have a gun on him at the time he was shot. Police searched an unidentified woman and baby in a car seat who were near the car the suspect was running to, for the gun. It's not clear if the suspect and the woman knew each other.
An officer found a gun under a car in the parking lot, but it was not clear whether it belonged to the man who was shot.
“We are releasing video footage of the incident here today as a part of our commitment to transparency,” said East Lansing Police Chief Kim Johnson said in a statement. “Building public trust means remaining present in these challenging times, engaging in tough conversations and being as transparent as possible with our community members.”
At the press conference, Johnson declined to answer questions about the case, noting that it is under investigation by the Michigan State Police.
The footage does not include faces including those of the officers involved, whose names have not been released.
“We want to reassure our community that we are listening, and we are committed to doing the right things in terms of process to ensure that we get the answers that are needed, make decisions accordingly and, ultimately, move forward as a community,” said East Lansing City Manager George Lahanas.
The video footage released contains explicit language and graphic visuals. Viewer discretion is strongly advised.
The man who was shot was identified by Black Lives Matter of Lansing as DeAnthony VanAtten. VanAtten was taken to the hospital where he was treated for injuries and was later taken to the Ingham County Jail and held on allegedly violating a probation warrant.
VanAtten was released Wednesday night.
Sean Holland, Co-Leader of Black Lives Matter of Lansing said the video was traumatizing to watch.
“There are no words to express the feeling of, I don't even know the word, to find the lack of dignity, the lack of respect and it's like being terrorized," Holland said. "The violence that the police department exerted against this young man is unacceptable on every level.”
Holland said there is still a lack of transparency coming from the police department as Chief Johnson declined to say what crime the suspect was being investigated for, declined releasing the officers names and didn't show security footage from inside the store.
“What we saw in that video was a war scene something you would see in the movies," Holland said. "It doesn't feel like there's transparency. The police chief, the captain also said that there was video footage that they decided that they would not show us because it was say the same thing. Well, show the video, show it. If it says the same thing, then play the video.”
Holland also questioned why only two East Lansing police officers were placed on leave when there were four involved.
“What we found today from the video that there were other officers that were participated, and they are still, you know, on the job, they need to be released from duty without pay," Holland said. "The chief needs to make a decision to fire these officers, there was clear breaking of policies.”
Chief Johnson said he made the decision to only place two on leave based on information he was given after the incident.
“There are two officers on leave, the other part is part of the investigation MSP is conducting,” Johnson said.
Chief Johnson said after state police complete their investigation, East Lansing will review their policies including whether or not the initial call to central dispatch could have been racially profiled.
Links to the press conference, which was streamed live on the city’s YouTube channel, and the video release package are available at www.cityofeastlansing.com/videorelease [cityofeastlansing.com].
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