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EL Independent Police Oversight Commission faces low turnout, unable to pass motion

December 8, 2022
Captain Chad Pride listens to community members comment during the East Lansing community oversight meeting at Hannah Community Center on Dec. 7, 2022.
Captain Chad Pride listens to community members comment during the East Lansing community oversight meeting at Hannah Community Center on Dec. 7, 2022. —
Photo by Audrey Richardson | The State News

Of the 11 commissioners serving on the East Lansing Independent Police Oversight Commission, five were in attendance for the commission’s monthly meeting Wednesday. 

There must be a minimum of six members in attendance for the meeting to have quorum – or to make the meeting’s proceedings valid.

Vice-chair Chris Root said the low turn-out was unusual and abnormal, with only three commissioners informing her of their absence before the meeting.

Other commissioners in attendance included Chair Erick Williams, Kath Edsall, Sharon Hobbs and Noel Garcia. 

East Lansing Police Department Capt. Chad Pride, East Lansing Counselmember Dana Watson and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator Elaine Hardy were also present. Pride and Garcia left halfway through the meeting. 

Due to the lack of attendance, a use of force motion related to an illegal search and seizure conducted by ELPD officers in late May was not discussed or passed. 

The subject of the search was told by officers he needed to stay until paramedics checked him out, also violating ELPD policy regarding "persons refusing EMS care."

However, parts of the complaint investigation, including the subject's name, were redacted.

The Oversight Commission is not privy to certain statements made by officers investigated due to a collective bargaining agreement between the police union and management. This means an officer can elect to not have their statements included in investigation documents.

The Flanagan investigation, named in reference to the subject's uncle who filed the complaint, concluded the "fair and impartial policing" policy was not violated, along with code of conduct, assault and battery, false imprisonment and harassment policies.

After its review of the Flanagan complaint, the commission asked the police department why no use-of-force report was produced after the incident. ELPD maintains the incident did not involve use of force. 

The motion, unable to be rejected or passed at the meeting due to lack of attendance, would have recommended an external, outside-agency review to determine whether the incident described in the Flanagan complaint was a reportable use of force. 

The commission will meet again on Jan. 4 at the Hannah Community Center.

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