EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– East Lansing Police officer, Andrew Stephenson, was accused of using excessive force during two separate arrests.
“I care very much about the community and that… I want to keep my job and continue to do good things for the community,” said Stephenson.
Stephenson’s attorney, Mike Nichols, says this wasn’t a case of excessive force.
“Don’t blame Andy Stephenson for what he did, maybe you don’t like the training, but that’s all he did was follow this training,” said Nichols.
Michigan State Police did it’s own independent investigation into the arrest then requested a warrant for assault charges against Stephenson, stemming from the December arrest.
“Andrew Stephenson really respects the authority that he has with that badge to take away somebody’s liberty for even 5 minutes, it’s not something he takes lightly, and it’s not something he took lightly on those nights,” said Nichols, “he is not out there to hurt anybody, he is out there to do his job and it’s a tough job,” he added.
Stephenson’s attorney says that he passed a polygraph about the December arrest regarding using excessive force and being bitten by the subject during the arrest.
Some in the community think Stephenson should be taken off the job permanently.
“He has hurt a friend of mine, a lot of African American people are scared to come to East Lansing because of him, we’re scared of him and we don’t trust him, we don’t want him patrolling our streets, and we call on city officials to fire Andrew Stephenson,” said Farhan Sheikh-Omar.
Edmund Rushton says he knows Anthony Loggins, the subject arrested in the December 2019 incident and has been following the Uwimana Gastio case since it happened in February.
“I’m going to let the courts make their decision, I agree with Farhan that his employment should be terminated,” said Edmund Rushton.
Rushton added that he was bothered by people calling into East Lansing City Council meetings with concerns over Stephenson and says they should have been concerned when the arrests happened.
“The fact that people could call in and think that this is some type of attack is a joke, its utterly ridiculous, if they had really cared justice in their community they would have been calling in when black people were being hurt by officer Stephenson, instead of when officer Stephenson is all of a sudden at risk with the criminal justice system,” said Rushton.
Stephenson could be charged with assault or misconduct in office, but Nichols is confident that won’t happen. Nichols added that the case is either with the Attorney General’s Office or with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Association of Michigan.