LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – “This policy is terrible, this police and our community should be outraged.”
Today law enforcement agencies say they’re against the Ingham County Prosecutor’s latest policy change.
Prosecutor Carol Siemon announced yesterday she’s limiting gun charges in an effort to address systemic racism.
But some local law enforcement say the change does more harm than good.
Several departments gathered together to speak out against the change to the felony firearms charge.
Siemon says the mandatory 2-year sentence that comes with a felony firearms charge has only let to more black people to jail while not adding additional public safety.
But today, multiple departments including Mason police, Stockbridge, Lansing Meridian Township, Williamston, Leslie, Lansing Township, and even Mayor Schor say they’re completely opposed to the new policy.
And today it was a similar scene to the one we saw a couple weeks ago when prosecutor Siemon announced she would not pursue criminal charges resulting from non-public safety traffic stops like a broken tail light or tinted windows.
Sheriff Wigglesworth says he’s taking this personally and will be asking prosecutor Siemon to resign if she continues not doing her job.
“Once again this policy is her subjective personal agenda her worldview or her perspective of the criminal justice system however I just simply can’t imagine the scenario where the vast majority OF people in Ingham County, AKA this constituency, think this policy is a good idea”
6 News spoke with prosecutor Siemon yesterday and she says she knows not everybody will be on board, but ultimately her goal is to keep people safe.
Now Lansing police chief Ellery Sosebee was also a strong opponent of this policy. He says he’s asking the prosecutor to reconsider.
“Yesterday’s Felony Firearm policy was issued to address the very real and significant racial disparity of how this law has been utilized since its inception in 1976. While the original legislative goal was to deter gun violence by creating a mandatory two-year prison sentence, the reality is that crime and gun violence continued to rise until it peaked in 1991. Not only did the felony firearm law not serve its stated function of reducing gun violence, it was another way, like the ill-conceived “war on drugs” in the 1980s and 1990s, that dramatically increased the incarceration of Black men,” said Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon
“Sadly, the emotional and inaccurate statements by law enforcement today played on the legitimate fears of us all about the real and horrible rise in gun violence. Overall, in Lansing, Michigan, and across the nation, increases in homicides and violent crime have occurred at similar rates in both jurisdictions that rejected reforms and those jurisdictions that pursued reforms.”