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Washtenaw Prosecutor Finds ELPD Officer Used No Excessive Force

police car
East Lansing Police Dept.
A Washtenaw County prosecutor has found no evidence of the use of excessive force by an ELPD officer.

An East Lansing police officer accused of using excessive force has been cleared by a Washtenaw County prosecutor. 

The accusation against Officer Andrew Stephenson stems from a December 2019 incident in which body camera footage shows Stephenson placing his knee on a suspect’s head and neck to subdue him. 

A Michigan State Police review decided a criminal investigation was unwarranted. 

However, after a request was made for a special prosecutor to study the case, it ended up before Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor Steven Hiller. 

On Wednesday, Hiller determined there was no evidence to suggest Stephenson used excessive force.

Interim East Lansing Police Chief Steve Gonzalez says his department is responsive to the community’s concerns.

“There are a lot of people with vested interests in this matter, and we have listened to some of the concerns that those people have brought up to us in the context of larger police reform that you see occurring throughout the country,” says Gonzalez.

Farhan Sheikh-Omar is an activist who organized an anti-police brutality protest in East Lansing in June.  He compares Stephenson's actions to those of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd.

"In the past two years, Andrew Stephenson has accounted for 41 percent of all public complaints," says Sheikh-Omar.  "Not a single complaint was sustained.  We are heading on the same path that Minneapolis was on."

Stephenson remains on active duty with the East Lansing Police Department.  



Kevin Lavery is a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things considered.
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