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Politics & Government

Lansing Mayor Announces Proposals Addressing Police Reform And Diversity

Protest leader Paul Birdsong talks with Lansing Mayor Andy Schor on the steps of the state capitol Sunday night. Now Birdsong's calls for change have turned to calls for  Schor's resignation.
Abigail Censky, WKAR
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Protest leader Paul Birdsong talks with Lansing Mayor Andy Schor on the steps of the state capitol Sunday, June 7, 2020. Now Birdsong's calls for change have turned to calls for Schor's resignation.

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor has announced further steps to reform the city’s police force and address diversity after weeks of small, nightly protests called for his resignation.

Mayor Schor’s Racial Justice and Equity Community Action Proposals are broken up into a series of immediate actions and future steps.

The mayor will sign the “8 Can’t Wait” pledge which implements certain policies for city police like banning chokeholds and strangleholds.

The pledge also requires officers to intervene if they observe the use of excessive force by another officer.

Other immediate actions include hiring a diversity and inclusion officer for the city, and building a transparency resource online. That resource would include things like police policies, breakout of policing calls, a programmatic budget breakdown, crime statistics, and a list of social service agencies funded. Not included in the resource is a list of disciplinary records or complaints. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Tuesday proposed the creation of a public registry of problem officers.

 Long term plans include working with the city council on budgetary adjustments and policy changes in city ordinance.

Some residents have called for Schor’s resignation. On June 6, a group of protesters marched to Schor’s house chanting “respect our wishes or resign,” and demanded to personally speak to him.

The demands of that group included police non-bias and de-escalation training, which would be open to the public.

Days before that march, during a tense Black Lives Matter Lansing webinar came the first call for Schor’s resignation. Panelist Angela Waters Austin posed the question to a visibly uncomfortable Schor.

Tuesday’s announcement by Schor is the latest attempt to restore his reputation following weeks of protests. Schor has publicly apologized for his admitted lack of preparedness during the BLM Lansing webinar and promised to hold a town hall.

Protester reception to Schor’s idea of starting by taking away $100,000 from the city police budget was poor. When the mayor floated the idea in front of the capitol he was met by boos. The 2020 Lansing Police budget stands at nearly $47 million dollars.

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Editor's note 6/16/20 8:44 p.m. - An item in the transparency resource has been corrected from a "programatting" to a "programmatic" budget breakdown.

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