Protests against police brutality continue across the country. A large crowd gathered Tuesday in East Lansing to voice their outrage over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Well over 100 people lined the street outside City Hall, wielding signs decrying Floyd’s death at the hands of a white police officer.
Many in the city are still angry over the recent exoneration of ELPD Officer Andrew Stephenson.
He was accused of using excessive force against two black men in late 2019 but was later cleared following a Michigan State Police investigation.
“For the past two years, he’s accounted for 42 percent of all public complaints,” says protest organizer Farhan Sheikh-Omar. “Forty-two percent; just one officer. So, what more needs to happen? Does he need to kill somebody? Is that when we’re going to act?
Omar wants the city to create an independent citizens’ police oversight committee. East Lansing City Manager George Lahanas says such a plan is in the works.
Lahanas says retaining Stephenson was the right decision.
“I understand people’s strong concern with the recent two incidences that occurred regarding the physical use of force,” Lahanas says. “In this situation, we had an independent police review for the possibility of criminal charges, and that was done by the Michigan State Police. So, I think in that respect, we’ve taken it to the end conclusion.”
He adds the city police force is scheduled to receive training this summer on eliminating implicit bias.