WARNING: This article includes graphic details of a police-involved shooting by East Lansing police officers.
On May 5, the City of East Lansing released multiple videos showing the shooting of a 21-year-old Black man by East Lansing police officers.
The video footage shows the events leading up to the shooting of DeAnthony VanAtten, the shooting itself and the events immediately after the incident. The video footage comes from body-worn cameras and the Meijer security cameras.
The video footage and press conference can be found here. The video depicts images of violence.
The body-worn camera footage from one officer shows him getting out of his car and immediately chasing the individual, saying “Get on the ground, get on the f---ing ground, get on the ground, you're gonna get tased ... he's reaching, he's reaching, he's got a gun.”
The officer, then, fires two shots. It is unclear within the body camera footage, whether VanAtten has a gun or not at this time.
"Shots fired, shots fired..." the officer said, and the sound of additional shots fired are heard in the background.
A female witness yells to the officer, "Don't shoot!" and "Is he shot?" The officer asks if the woman knows the man and that he's unsure if he is shot.
The woman then yells to the officer continuously, "Don't shoot, don't shoot him" and when asked by the officer who VanAtten is, the woman responds, "I don't know, don't shoot..." She also says she did not know VanAtten.
The officer's body-worn camera footage, then, fades out.
A second officer's body-worn camera footage shows him chasing after VanAtten saying, "He's got a gun" and the officer fires several more shots at VanAtten.
The officer, then, says "Get on the f---ing ground."
As the two officers handcuff VanAtten, there is no gun in either one of his hands. The officers search VanAtten, but no gun is recovered.
Another officer then asks the woman, "Where's the gun?"
Later, the woman asks the officers again "Is he shot?" They respond by grabbing and pulling her away from the scene.
“Check her for a gun,” one officer said to another.
The woman replies, “I don't have no f---ing gun.”
An officer searches the woman's pockets and her baby is taken. After going out of view of the body-warn camera footage, an officer announces he found a gun.
In a Twitter post, Black Lives Matter Lansing said: “The old ‘he's got a gun’ when clearly there is no gun in his hand. East Lansing Police Department immediately reported a gun found at the scene. Wherever it was ‘found,’ we know where it wasn't and that's in DeAnthony's hand when he was gunned down.”
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“Cops snatch DeAnthony's baby from baby's mom and search her as cop continues to lie and say he saw him with a gun,” BLM Lansing continued. “Then one of the cops ‘finds’ it under a car after going out of view of camera.”
Michigan is an open-carry state, so possession of a legal firearm is not a crime, BLM Lansing pointed out.
On May 2, Michigan State Police, or MSP, First District released an update on the investigation.
"Ingham County Sheriff’s Office took custody of the suspect on April 28, 2022, while the suspect was at the hospital on the probation violation warrant,” MSP said. “The suspect was released from the hospital on May 2, 2022, and was lodged at Ingham County Jail.”
However, the bullets were still in VanAtten's body when Sparrow allowed Ingham County to move him to the Ingham County Jail, BLM Lansing said in the statement.
“A warrant was conveniently issued for his arrest from another jurisdiction AFTER he was shot that has nothing to do with the cops shooting him,” BLM Lansing said in April 29 statement. “Cops have had DeAnthony under confinement for 10 days since gunning him down and creating this redacted production that fits their false narrative.”
Also, the dispatch call stated VanAtten was not a threat.
“Cops heard 20-year-old Black male with a gun and forgot East Lansing has an ordinance against bias calls to police SPECIFICALLY to prevent cops from shooting Black people,” BLM Lansing said in their statement.
The two officers who shot VanAtten have not been identified.
During the April 28 special meeting of the East Lansing Independent Police Oversight Commission, EL Police Chief Kim Johnson said, the names of the involved officers will be released after the investigation.
Per ELPD’s policy, the two officers are being placed on paid administrative leave.
Once MSP detectives finalize their report, it will be forwarded to Attorney General Dana Nessel's office, according to a written policy by the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office.
The City of East Lansing has included a website for individuals coping with the shooting. Resources can be found here.
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