Local prosecutor’s approach to equity? Stop charging people with crimes.


INGHAM COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) — Traffic stops that may have resulted in arrests or even felonies will no longer lead to criminal charges in Ingham County.

That comes after the prosecutor, Carol Siemon, put a new rule in place cutting down on what’s known as pretextual stops  

When a person is detained for a small crime officers look for a larger one.

The hope is that it will improve trust in the community and create a safer environment for everyone, because for someone like Mike Lynn, he’s seen too many minor traffic stops end up the wrong way.

“I’ve got a nephew that just went to prison, just got sentenced last week for a stop similar to this. He got pulled over and a cop told him he had no insurance and that gave him the right to search his car. My nephew didn’t know any better. End result was they found a firearm. Now he’s doing 3 years in fed prison. That’s a stop that never should have happened. Should have never got to that point,” said Mike Lynn, the leader of Lansing Black Lives Matter.

Now with a felony on his record, Lynn worries his nephew’s life is now changed forever.

But with the new rule put in place by prosecutor Carol Siemon, that should be a thing of the past in Ingham county. Because as always the goal “Is to work to keep the public safe and to increase equity and fairness in the community,” said Siemon.

Some of the infractions that fall under this new rule: tinted windows, cracked windshield, taillight or brake light that may be out, expired registrations, or ornaments dangling from the rearview mirror — cannot lead to more charges.

One concern with the new policy? Enforcement.

“It’s a positive step forward. but the implementation of it is going to be the issue. Is LPD going to fudge the paperwork? That’s what we’re dealing with right now,” said Siemon.

That question arises in part because the Lansing Police Department announced it would be starting a very similar practice in the summer of 2020. A policy that Siemon and Lynn say hasn’t quite happened.

Siemon says she trusts law enforcement but is going to do what she can to make sure everything is done properly.

“I can’t tell the police not to make stops but what I can do is say we will closely scrutinize those stops.”

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