INGHAM COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS)– On Tuesday, Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon announced she was making changes to her office’s felony firearm policy.

Siemon says the move is an effort to reduce the historic racially disparate impact of the charge.

Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth called the policy change “garbage” while speaking about it in a press conference on Wednesday. You can watch that full news conference in the video above.

According to a release from the prosecutor’s office, they will no longer issue charges for felony firearms unless extreme circumstances warrant the charge. Examples of that include:

  • When other charges that could apply don’t address the circumstances of the case.
  • When there isn’t a witness and they can’t meet the burden for other applicable charges.

“We applaud Prosecutor Carol Siemon’s decision to limit the use of charges under the mandatory minimum ‘felony firearm’ law,” said Safe & Just Michigan Executive director John S. Cooper in the release. “Research shows that mandatory minimums and the felony firearm law have failed to deter the use or possession of firearms, and the racially disparate impact of firearm charges is well documented.”

According to the Ingham County Prosecutors office, in 2020, the office issued 205 cases of felony firearms were issued by the office, and 138 (67%) were against persons who are black.

The move follows another made by Siemon’s office last month, that they will no longer pursue criminal charges against those pulled over non-public safety traffic stops. The change is a part of a new effort to address the effects of racial biases in the legal system.

Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wrigglesworth didn’t mince words about that change, calling it a slap in the face of law enforcement officers. Here full reaction marks to that in the video below.

Read more about the office’s recent decision here, and click here for more on what a felony firearm charge means.