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Lansing Police officers on leave after one strikes teenager

Black Lives Matter: ‘We don’t want to see this happen ever again’

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(For a look at police footage of the arrest, click here and here.)

SATURDAY, June 15 — Two Lansing Police Department officers have since been placed on administrative leave after one repeatedly struck an unarmed, handcuffed black teenager during an arrest late yesterday morning.

“That is not the conduct of what we want from our Lansing police officers,” said Police Chief Michael Yankowski. “That is not the outcome that we are looking for. With that being said, we have to take this case from A to Z, and make sure we get all of the facts and get all the issues on the table to evaluate per our policies.”

Officers Lindsey Howley and Bailey Ueberroth have since been placed on leave after Howley repeatedly struck a 16-year-old runaway. Body-cam footage released earlier today shows Ueberroth nearby during the encounter. Howley has been on the force for about a year. Ueberroth has worked for the Department for about six months.

The local Black Lives Matter chapter, while the investigation continues, is still up in arms against the alleged police brutality against a black teenager at the hands of a white police officer. Several dozen protesters, some with signs that criticized the Lansing Police Department, gathered around 1 p.m. in front of Lansing City Hall.

Their message: Undue violence against citizens is a systematic trend nationwide. Lansing needs to be held accountable for the actions of its officers. Organizers also called for both officers to be immediately fired and for the 16-year-old girl to be compensated for both emotional and physical trauma sustained during the incident.

Angela Waters Austin, co-founder of Lansing’s Black Lives Matter chapter, believes yesterday’s incident involved “excessive force.” She wants to put local cops “on notice” of an evolving problem in the city.

“If it indeed was standard protocol, then we need to go deeper because those protocols are harming our community,” Austin added. “We want to let the city of Lansing know that this is unacceptable behavior. We expect more from our local police force and we will not allow this to be covered up and swept under the rug.”

Today’s protest followed a press conference late yesterday afternoon where Yankowski first announced the internal investigation. He previously labeled the incident as a “successful arrest” that used “training tactics” to subdue the teenager after several amateur videos surfaced of the encounter online and complaints followed.

In the videos, the girl’s right leg appeared to prevent Howley from closing the rear door of a police SUV. Howley threatened to break the girl’s leg before striking the handcuffed teenager at least 14 times before she was arrested. Both teenagers were later transported to the Ingham County Youth Center where they remained this afternoon.

The internal investigation (as with all forceful encounters) will determine whether or not Howley used “objectively reasonable” force — a standard which considers both the level of resistance and the age of the suspect, Yankowski said. The results of that investigation could lead to discipline or possible termination.

In the meantime, Black Lives Matter is still demanding immediate retribution.

“We don’t want to see this happen ever again,” Austin added. “We have specific policy demands. We want to see a community-driven accountability council that has subpoena power. Police policing themselves will never lead to justice. I think it’s important to ask the police to work with the community to transform policing in this city.”

Protesters also took a knee to in solidarity against police violence as a loud-speaker looped the national anthem every 15 minutes during the demonstration. Lansing Mayor Andy Schor also arrived to address the crowd.

“I’m here to listen,” Schor said. “We have launched a full investigation. I have seen what you have seen, and we’re going to get to the bottom of all of this. We treasure everyone’s voices — especially here in the city of Lansing.”

Dash-and body-cam footage of the incident was also released this afternoon. Click here to view the videos.

Residents are asked to submit information and video of the incident to the Department’s Internal Affairs division by calling 517-483-4804. Visit lansingcitypulse.com for previous and continued coverage.

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