East Lansing police shooting to be discussed at meeting Monday
EAST LANSING — The East Lansing Independent Police Oversight Commission will discuss the April 25 police shooting again at its monthly meeting Monday, and it has more questions for state and city police, as well as city officials.
The meeting will be at 6 pm Monday in the Hannah Community Center. There will be time for public comment.
According to the agenda, Chair Erick Williams will make motions to pass seven resolutions asking for further research and investigation by the city’s manager, attorney, City Council, East Lansing Police Department and Michigan State Police.
Questions and actions the commission would like to see moving forward are as follows:
Questions for Michigan State Police
- Who is the official generally responsible for investigations after an officer has shot someone?
- What is the scope of the investigation? What has the department agreed to investigate?
- Do any manuals, guidelines, protocols, policies, general instructions or similar documents exist that govern state police investigations of shootings by police officers?
- Are there any intergovernmental bodies or groups that develop plans or protocols about how shootings by officers are to be investigated? If so, are city governments involved in those groups?
Researching incident command
The commission asks the East Lansing Police Department to research and report on the practice of establishing an incident command to collect intelligence and plan an organized response when a substantial number of officers appear at an incident scene.
Responding in crowded situations
The commission asks the East Lansing Police Department to research and report on the tactical alternatives to firing gunshots where bystanders are nearby.
Shootings by officers
The commission asks the city manager to research how such shootings are investigated. In particular, who determines the scope of those investigations? Who writes rules? Are local governments involved in that planning? How can the East Lansing government have future planning input?
Requesting forensic video analysis
The commission asks City Council to authorize a professional forensic analysis of the available video documentation with a focus on the organization of the police response, and the behavior of the individual officers involved, with a view to improving the response to such situations in the future.
Learning why reports were not written
The commission asks the city attorney to investigate how the officers involved in this case were excused from the duty to write reports about the incident. Is there a “higher law” that trumps East Lansing Police Department policy and city ordinances?
Addressing bias-driven 911 calls
The commission asks the city manager to investigate what training is available for 911 operators – in particular, training to ferret out bias-driven calls for service.
The purpose of the Independent Police Oversight Commission is to increase East Lansing Police Department accountability and strengthen trust in the police department by the community it is pledged to serve, according to the city’s website.
On April 25 East Lansing Police Department officers shot 20-year-old DeAnthony VanAtten, a Black man, in the Lake Lansing Meijer parking lot.
The commission had a special meeting April 28 to discuss the shooting and video of the incident was released Thursday.
In a letter to the commission on May 1, Commissioner Noel Garcia wrote he was frustrated by the special meeting and he was waiting for a “great deal of information” before casting judgment on the situation.
“It is my hope as we move forward that we all slow down and gather information and yes, that we even become instrumental in much needed change,” he wrote. “I am all for changing policy that has been recommended already because I am frankly over-hearing the same reasoning in law enforcement that we do it this way because we have always done it this way with no real explanation.”
Contact Bryce Airgood at 517-267-0448 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @bairgood123.