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Mother says teen daughter is 'not hardened criminal'

teen mom.JPG
Posted at 5:39 PM, Jul 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-31 20:48:19-04

LANSING, Mich. — The mother of a teenage girl who accused a Lansing Police Officer of using excessive force is upset her daughter is staying locked up.

The juvenile has been in custody at the Ingham County Youth Center for more than a month since she was arrested on Dakin St. in June.

She's facing felony charges for assaulting an officer (Howley) and resisting and obstructing arrest.

"She's not a hardened criminal. She's a young girl that has made some bad decisions. We all have," said her mother, Tonia Lilly.

Tonia Lilly defended her 16-year-old who appeared in court for her pre-trial hearing Wednesday morning.

During the hearing, the teen's probation officer said the teen was not attending school, was often absent or tardy, and her behavior at the Ingham Academy was disruptive. Judge Richard Garcia sent a strong message to the teen that her history of non-compliance and out-of-control behavior won't be tolerated.

"You get caught with a knife at school and get suspended. We give you an opportunity to make all that right by going to the academy. You have none of it," said Hon. Richard Garcia.

Lilly said that she thinks her daughter is being judged more harshly than Lansing police officers Ueberroth and Howley who were under investigation for their use of force.

"She's being treated like a hardened criminal, but yet the severity of what the officers did in their position of power is being swept under the rug and basically letting other troubled youths or teenagers or anyone they come in contact with think that it's ok," Lilly said.

In response to how her daughter is doing after the incident, she replied, "She tries not to talk about it very much. You have a kid being punched over 17 times by an officer and is told that's standard procedure."

Lilly said the probation punishment for Ueberroth was appropriate, but the three-day unpaid suspension with additional training for officer Howley -- who struck her daughter -- wasn't enough.

"We don't feel like she's someone who's safe to continue working on the Lansing police. Ms. Lilly's position is that she should have been terminated from the force," said Elizabeth Abdnour, the girl's attorney.

Abdnour said that they're trying to find the most appropriate therapeutic setting for the teen.

The teen will remain at the youth center until her trial on September 6th.

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