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Prosecutor will not pursue charges against Lansing police officers in excessive force case

Prosecutor Explains Controversial Plea
Posted at 12:49 PM, Mar 05, 2021

LANSING, Mich. — The Ingham County Prosecutor's office will not charge three Lansing police officers who punched a suspect during a November arrest.

"While much of the police behavior was concerning in light of our changing societal norms, and historical wrongs, the officers’ actions did not rise to the level of a violation of the criminal law, when reviewed in light of laws and policies in place at the time of this event," Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mike Cheltenham wrote in an email to state police.

The three officers responded to a street confrontation in the 800 block of Baker Street on Nov. 10. Officer Alex Rojas encountered Johnathon Hardy, who had been involved in the conflict, inside McNamara's Party Store. After an exchange of words, Rojas decided to arrest Hardy for loud and boisterous conduct, according to Cheltenham's written account.
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Hardy resisted arrest, at one point grabbing Rojas and pushing him into a wall, Cheltenham wrote. In the ensuing struggle, an officer hit Hardy with a stun gun and Rojas, Officer Morgan Schafer and Officer Alex Slobin struck Hardy.

Lansing police asked the Michigan State Police to investigate the incident the same day. Warrants were requested for Rojas, Schafer and Slobin in early January.

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

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

A department spokesman said they would not comment on an on-going investigation beyond a public statement.