Residents address police chief, board over teen’s arrest


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — A packed house at Lansing City Hall as members of the community address the city’s police chief over the controversial arrest of a teenage girl.

Tonight’s meeting was the Lansing Board of Police Commissioners’ first meeting since Friday’s arrest. Video from that day appears to show an officer striking the girl’s leg when she refused to be placed in the back seat of the police cruiser.

Tuesday, Lansing police released 911 calls and police reports from the arrest.

People who showed up at the board’s meeting made sure their voices were heard. Dozens packed Lansing City Hall, some holding signs supporting the teen. Others called for the officer involved to be fired.

“What are you going to do, right now, from the ground up to ensure that this doesn’t happen again?” one person asked the board. “You need systemic change from the ground up. Firing this one officer isn’t enough, but it’s a start.”

Others, like Stan Parker, called for more community policing.

“We need to be more concerned about prevention so that we don’t have to deal with reaction,” he said.

After public comment, Police Chief Mike Yankowski spoke, and took questions from the crowd. A dialogue he says went well.

“Anytime we can have dialogue, it’s good. People need to express their opinions, their thoughts,” he said. “And, equally, I need to listen to their thoughts and comments.”

Parker agreed that the dialogue went well, and added he felt as though he was heard. However, he added, this is only the beginning.

“Being heard is one thing, but then action to follow up is the issue,” he said.

The two officers involved in the arrest have been placed on administrative leave during the investigation. Yankowski did not provide a timeline for when the investigation would be complete, but says he hopes to have it done as soon as possible.

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