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Dozens gather for protest outside East Lansing Police Department


EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– A peaceful protest was held on Sunday after a man claimed local police officers used too much force during his arrest.

Uwimana “Tito” Gastio posted pictures after being arrested by East Lansing police officers in early February. Some protestors say the pictures of his face and scars pushed them to act.

“I don’t know him at all,” says Lansing resident Aaron Blankenburg, “but I just think when something happens to someone in the community, I think it’s important we stick together and show our support for them.”

“I was very sad, I was angry,” says Farhan Sheikh-Omar, a friend of Gasito and fellow Lansing resident. “But violence is never the answer, so that’s why God gave us the first amendment, freedom of speech, freedom to assemble. So that’s why we’re out here to send a clear message to the East Lansing Police Department.”

Protesters say they want full transparency from the East Pansing police chief and department.

“The fact that it took five days for [the chief] to initiate this investigation,” Sheikh-Omar says, “and then for him to ask for another two weeks to investigate or even to release the body footage, it’s disgraceful.”

ELPD is not commenting on the case until its internal investigation is wrapped up. Those protesting want to keep the community support coming regardless of the outcome.

“No matter what they decide, hopefully they just take out that we have to be there for one another and just build as a family,” Everett High School student Mikeise May says. “As a city, we should all come together.”

Once the investigation is over, the East Lansing City Council will have a public meeting to put out all of that footage and make their findings public.

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