EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – On Wednesday, East Lansing city officials reflected on the Attorney General’s decision to call an April police shooting justified.
The announcement that officers involved in an East Lansing shooting of a man outside a Meijer will not face charges is a relief to the officers and their attorneys and is prompting new questions for city officials.
Attorney Mike Nichols said he was cautiously optimistic the Attorney General’s office would not press charges on his client, officer Jose Viera.
Yet one city council member said the investigation has left some questions unanswered.
“It is clear that Mr. Vanatten had a visible weapon as he was running from the four police officers in a location where the members of the public were present,” Nessel said on Wednesday.
After several months of reviewing the April shooting of Deanthony Vanatten in a Meijer parking lot, Nessel said Vanatten would be facing several charges from the incident, including three gun charges.
“Jose’s reaction was ‘I felt confident all along because what I did was right and consistent with my training. But man, this has been hanging over my head’ and I think he’s just walking a little bit lighter and starting to realize that at least this part is behind him,” Nichols said.
In a statement, East Lansing police officials said both officers Jose Viera and Jim Menser will return in a non-patrol status as an internal investigation is conducted. East Lansing council member Dana Watson serves on the city’s independent police oversight committee. She said Nessel’s decision adds to the committee’s review of the department.
Watson said moving ahead, the committee has further questions on the case and how to improve the department.
“How does this policy work, was it followed correctly and even if it was followed correctly is this the policy that should be in place. Does this harm our community? Does it harm people that come into our community? Or work or shop in our community,” Watson said.
6 News has out to Vanatten family for a comment on the attorney general’s decision, we have yet to hear back from them.