WEDNESDAY, Feb. 17 — About one month after cops lobbed tear gas into crowds at a protest against police brutality in Lansing last year, Police Chief Daryl Green was pondering retirement.
A nationwide call for reforms — including a push to slash funding at police departments — had been building for several weeks after George Floyd was murdered at the end of May 2020. As social unrest spread into Lansing a month later, a wave of “internal and external attacks” were starting to get to Green, he said. His $117,000 salary also wasn’t “enough to continue to take it.”
And by July, enough was enough.
“I’m probably going to make a decision to retire in the very near future as I don’t like the internal and external attacks and I don’t make enough to continue to take it,” Green wrote in text messages dated July 4, 2020 that were obtained and verified by City Pulse this week.
“I’m fighting internally with officers and unions for change that I’m not sure the community even cares about,” Green wrote, noting that “every day is a challenge” in messages two weeks later.
Those text messages were written about one month after a protest geared toward police reforms turned to a small riot in downtown Lansing. For weeks, Green had been under pressure to do something — anything — to show that his department was on the right track.
On July 1, in response to statistics that showed Black drivers were significantly more likely to be stopped and searched by Lansing cops, Green put in place policies that prevented officers from initiating traffic stops for defective equipment violations and other relatively minor infractions.
The goal: Curb police discrimination against Black residents. Three days later, he was thinking about retirement, text messages showed. Those messages were sent by Green to activist and ex-firefighter Michael Lynn Jr., who shared them with City Pulse earlier this afternoon.
“Change for any organization is a difficult process and internally many in the department have joined me in spirited debates concerning some recent policy reforms,” Green explained today. “However, I believe the department has accepted the ideal that we must evolve with our policy, training and accountability processes to meet the demands of a 21st century police force.”
That means Green is no longer looking to quickly retire from his position with the city, he said.
“2020 was an extremely difficult year for police chiefs across the country and yes I have considered retiring. However, I like the current momentum of our department and my ability to be a part of the city’s racial equity work. I look forward to assisting the city in moving the Lansing Police Department in a direction we can all be proud of,” Green wrote in an email this afternoon.