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East Lansing’s Study Committee on Independent Police Oversight looks at arrest data

East Lansing’s Committee on Police Oversight data
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Posted at 2:09 AM, Oct 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-28 02:09:09-04

LANSING, Mich. — Data released by East Lansing Police shows the number of African Americans arrested for crimes is high compared to the city’s black population.

“The numbers are really alarming,” said community activist Chuck Grigsby.

Grigsby is the chair of East Lansing’s Study Committee on Independent Police Oversight. He leads the study group of nine working members and questioned Deputy Chief of Police Steve Gonzalez about the numbers at their Monday night meeting.

Grigsby says the data they have may only be preliminary, but reveals a big problem for his community.

“So as you see within the timeline for 2017, 2018, 2019, you have a history of disproportionate contact in public safety when it comes to a certain individual populations within the group,” said Grigsby.

For example, Black people make up around 7.6% of the population in East Lansing and represent 41% percent of Category 1 and 2 crime arrests in 2019. That’s nearly six times their representation.

“Kind of how we looked at it, you obviously saw a disproportionate amount of people who were affected, which were African American individuals, and you know that’s a national problem. It’s not just a local East Lansing problem,” said Grigsby.

Category 1 crimes are the following:

• Criminal Homicide

• Sexual Assault

• Robbery

• Aggravated Assault

• Burglary

• Larceny/Fraud

• Motor Vehicle Theft

• Arson

Category 2 crimes are:

Driving Offenses

• Disorderly Conduct

• Ordinance Offenses

• Drug Related Offenses

Grigsby said the data is only a small part of a even bigger picture that they plan to get to the bottom of.

“I think part of the challenge is that because when you have data like this, you see it, but it doesn’t really tell you how to approach analyzing the way that you can see change. So for example, we want to know if that 40%... For example, of African Americans who have been interacting with the police are those residents of East Lansing, are there people outside of our community coming into our community? You know, are those individuals young black males who go to college here or are they just residents of here?” said Grigsby.

The group plans to meet again on November 9 and hear from Black Lives Matter representatives.

If you want to see the data for yourself, click here.

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Mikayla Temple

Mikayla Temple

1:39 PM, Jan 05, 2021

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