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Lansing NAACP calls for after police officers aren't charged in excessive force case

Lansing City Council approves grant to hire more officers
Posted at 6:56 PM, Mar 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-09 18:56:24-05

LANSING, Mich. — In the wake of the Ingham County prosecutor’s decision not to charge three Lansing Police officers who punched a suspect during a November arrest the Lansing Branch of the NAACP is stepping forward to demand more accountability from the police department.

The organization says they are disappointed by the prosecutor’s office and the Lansing Police Department for choosing not hold officers to a higher standard.

Three officers were accused of using unsanctioned maneuvers while arresting a young Black man in the 800 block of Baker Street last November.

”We are encouraging the police department to conduct additional training," said Randy Watkins, the NAACP chapter’s vice president. "We will be meeting with the police department over this. We know there is an internal investigation going on. We will be looking at the recommendations from the Mayor's Racial Justice and Equity Alliance is going to be putting out."

Though the officers will not face criminal charges, Lansing Police Chief Daryl Green said in a statement last week that they may face other consequences.

“The Department holds all employees to the highest standards," Green said. "The LPD Internal Affairs Unit will thoroughly investigate this incident and determine if the officers violated any policy."

Lansing resident Bernard James-Sparks Jr. said he saw the arrest and thinks there's a much better way to handle situations like this.

"We got a bad alcoholism problem and drug problem in this area. It's not really just in this area, it's in this whole city. They need to focus more on substance abuse and mental health instead of throwing cuffs on everybody and beating them," James-Sparks said.

The Lansing NAACP says in their statement that the arrest is another example of a man's civil rights being violated and calls the video of the arrest disturbing.

Watkins says there’s been at least one other case involving allegations of excessive by Lansing police in the same area.

He says the previous police chief, Michael Yankowski, came up with some recommendations at that time and the group plans to ask if those best practices are still being used.