LANSING, Mich. — The Lansing Police Department has released the findings of their internal investigation of the in-custody death of Anthony Hulon, who asphyxiated after being handcuffed by officers and pinned to the ground.
“During this review process board members observed how well LPD personnel did," said the report, which was released today. "The board’s consensus was some things need to be improved but there were a lot of things done very well."
"All LPD personnel involved in this incident conducted themselves professionally and with compassion for the deceased Anthony Hulon who was clearly in crisis,” the report added.
Heather Hulon, Anthony's sister, said the report flies in the in the face of her family's experience.
“It's the dismissiveness, that's that's it for me," Hulon said. "It's just they have dismissed Anthony, they have dismissed our family. And that's just really how it feels with the way they put that together. Um, you know, definitely there's a lot of information lacking that, you know, like Jennifer said, it will all come out later, but it's just really the feeling of the dismissiveness.”
Hulon was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence after allegedly assaulting his roommate. He was taken to Sparrow Hospital because he was behaving erratically and found to have ecstasy and methamphetamine in his system.
When Hulon was in jail, officers handcuffed and pinned him to the ground. A video from the police station shows Hulon telling the officers he couldn’t breathe and was going to pass out. The officers continued to pin him down.
He died in April of 2020 but the city did not discuss the role of officers in his death or the fact that a medical examiner ruled the death a homicide due to asphyxia until Hulon's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in the fall of that year.
Jennifer Damico, attorney for Hulon's family, says the report released today was incomplete.
“They don't even mention that he was, you know, on his stomach and said I can't breathe, I can't breathe three times," Damico said. "It's not mentioned anywhere in the report. And that's that's the whole point and the videos, the videos don't lie… It’s Lansing investigating Lansing, so we did not have expectations that they would find policy violations, or say that they did anything wrong because we're in litigation.”
The report specified that the autopsy definition of “homicide” is different than the legal definition. The autopsy determined the cause of death as asphyxia, but the internal investigation pointed to the fact that Hulon’s autopsy also showed he had methamphetamine in his system.
In April, Attorney General Dana Nessel said Hulon may have unknowingly ingested a dangerous substance laced in the drugs.
The report recommended that officers receive additional training on mitigating health risks and de-escalation and that the department should "establish a response process to all complaints where breathing difficulties are expressed," among other things.
“The question is whether these were things that could have been done before," Damico said." How long were they aware of these deficiencies? And those are all things that we will figure out as we go through the litigation process.”
It also recommended the department "establish guidelines regarding circumstances that may require an officer’s name being withheld from the media for a period of time."
“We're just gonna keep fighting for justice," Hulon said. "It'll come out and it'll be shown, you know, the truth. And that's, you know, really what we're waiting for. That's definitely what I'm waiting for.”
In a press release, Lansing Police department said it “is not at liberty to give any further statement on this incident due to the fact there is pending civil litigation.”
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