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East Lansing releases police footage in recently closed excessive force investigation

May 13, 2020
<p>An East Lansing police car photographed on March 10, 2020. </p>

An East Lansing police car photographed on March 10, 2020.

Photo by Matt Zubik | The State News

Content warning: Videos discussed in this article contain graphic content.

The city of East Lansing released all footage related to a recent Michigan State Police investigation into alleged incidents of excessive force.

Michigan State Police completed its investigation into two incidents regarding an ELPD officer's use of force on May 4, finding that the officer in question used appropriate procedures in both incidents. The incidents investigated included a December traffic stop and arrest and an altercation and arrest at 7-Eleven in February.

The footage was initially not released at the request of the Ingham County Prosecutor's Office due to pending court proceedings, according to a statement from East Lansing officials. However, as the investigation has concluded, the footage is now publicly available.

East Lansing City Council announced that all footage related to the investigation would be released in a virtual meeting May 12.

The meeting featured public concerns and comments regarding transparency, the investigation results and plans for a Police Community Relations Review Committee.

East Lansing Mayor Ruth Beier said "it's not a pleasant video."

"I think it will raise a lot of emotions that are reasonable to have, and we will be talking about it again I'm sure," Beier said.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for May 26, in which community members will be able to participate in public comment.

This meeting will also feature discussion of the resolution to select the committee that will create a police oversight committee, Beier said. The committee will be tasked with creating an oversight commission.

For now, any use of force complaints are reviewed by the ELPD police chief and Beier.

Beier said the exonerated disposition of the Michigan State Police investigation does not mean East Lansing will fail to resolve these incidents.

"You can't really have it both ways. You can't ask for an independent investigation and then when you get an independent investigation, ignore the results," Beier said. "But, that doesn't mean that this is over for Officer Stephenson or any officer."

The footage, as well as documents related to the investigation, can be found here.

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