EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The final item on the agenda for the East Lansing City Council meeting on Tuesday night goes back to the April shooting at the Meijer on Park Lake Road.

The East Lansing Independent Police Oversight Commission will request that City Council ‘demands’ that Attorney General Dana Nessel drop the charges she announced against DeAnthony VanAtten.

Court documents show that VanAtten was charged with:

  • 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.

The charges were announced the same day Nessel announced that no charges would be sought against the officers involved in the shooting.

At the Sept. 6 East Lansing City Council meeting, tensions were high, as people who were upset about the charges filed against VanAtten aired their concerns.

VanAtten, a 20-year-old Black man, was shot while running away from East Lansing police officers
in the parking lot of the Lake Lansing Meijer store back in April.

“There’s no individual that can walk away and say that there wasn’t a system’s failure that day,” said Mayor Ron Bacon.

In a memo written by the EL Independent Police Oversight Commission, the group argues, with references to past cases, that Nessel does have the authority to drop the charges for good reason.

“Mr. Van Atten’s alleged crimes were investigated only after he was shot by police officers in what may have been a preventable incident,” said Erick Williams, the chair of the Independent Police Oversight Commission. “The public interest demands that the incident be investigated so that responsible agencies can take corrective action to prevent such incidents from happening in the future. A criminal trial against the victim could impede that process by making relevant information unavailable to the incident investigators. Thus, in the public interest, the criminal charges against Mr. Van Atten should be dropped.”

Additionally, the Commission wrote and attached a proposed letter that City Manager George Lahanas and Mayor Ron Bacon could send that would ask Nessel for the investigation file made into VanAtten’s case.

To read the agenda items, click here.