LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Attorney General Dana Nessel announced on Wednesday that her office will not be filing charges against East Lansing Police officers that were involved in the April shooting of Deanthony Vanatten.
Vanatten, a Black man, was shot by police in a Meijer parking lot on April 25, 2022.
On Tuesday, 6 News discovered the State of Michigan had filed eight charges against Vanatten:
- One count of carrying a concealed weapon,
- One count of receiving and concealing a weapon,
- One felony firearms charge,
- Four counts of obstructing an officer,
- One third-degree retail fraud charge.
During a press conference, Nessel said her office reviewed body camera footage, surveillance footage and reports from multiple different departments.
Based on the review, Nessel said the officers were of the belief that Vanatten showed a reasonable threat and no charges will be sought against the officers.
East Lansing police said they will now begin its internal investigation of the shooting to see if any officers violated the department’s policies or protocols.
In the meantime, the two officers that have been on paid administrative leave will return to work in non-patrol roles as they transition back.
In light of Nessel’s announcement, officials have begun releasing reactions, which you can find below.
“An officer-involved shooting is never and should never be taken lightly. We understand that this has been extremely difficult for our community, and, while this situation was challenging, it also provides us with the opportunity to reflect, grow and improve.”
East Lansing Police Chief Kim Johnson
“We respect the decision of the Department of Attorney General and we are committed to the continual improvement of our public safety and all of the services we provide to our community. We will continue to work with our community and the East Lansing Independent Police Oversight Commission to build trust and transparency in our public safety operations.”East Lansing City Manager George Lahanas
“This morning’s announcement by the Attorney General is a resounding rebuke of the rush to judgment by many particularly the East Lansing Independent Police Oversight Committee. Prior to the release of any facts, members of the committee publicly called for the police officers involved in the April 25th incident at Meijer to be fired and arrested. Some went as far as to suggest the suspect in the incident committed no crime and that the officers, dispatcher, and even the citizen who called 9-1-1 were racist.
Since its inception, the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Unit has reviewed 40 cases, issuing charges in more than 30 of them. Attorney General Nessel has decided not to do so in this case. Instead, she determined it was “clear” that the involved officers acted reasonably under the circumstances.
Based on a review of all the evidence, her office concluded that the suspect presented an “immediate and extreme danger” to the safety of the public. The decision of the Attorney General to charge the suspect with multiple firearm-related felonies, while simultaneously clearing the officers of any wrongdoing, should lead members of the East Lansing community to question both the objective judgment and purpose of the Independent Police Oversight Committee. The officers involved in this unfortunate incident are dedicated public servants. They acted dutifully and legally in protecting the public on the afternoon of April 25th. They, along with the rest of our organization’s members, will continue to do so. It is our expectation the City will promptly return the officers to full duty.Capital City Labor Program, the labor union representing ELPD officers.