Officer fired over alleged racist comments

News

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– An internal investigation was launched by the Lansing Police Department after an officer allegedly made some racist comments on the job. The suggested punishment was a 30 day suspension along with some additional training.

But the chief decided to fire him anyway because according to their unbiased policing policy, that language was just unacceptable.

“We hold our officers to the highest ethical, integrity-filled standards that any police agency should have,” police chief Mike Yankowski said. He added that he was disappointed after other LPD officers reported Leonel Rangel for comments including “Somali citizens need to return to the Congo.” Rangel allegedly said that another officer would be promoted because he was “dumb and black.” At one point he even answered the phone using the n-word.

The chief says it was in no way in line with his training.

“We send all of our police officers to what we call a series of cultural sensitivity trainings,” Yankowski said. For Rangel, who had worked with LPD for two years, that included a trip to the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University and extra training on fair and unbiased policing. All that training sealed his fate when the chief made his decision.

“It was all of those things that we had already done with this employee,” he says. “That’s why I was disappointed to hear these allegations, which we take very serious here at the Lansing Police Department.”

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