Lansing Man Dies in Police Custody

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

"I was terrified."

Those words from a Lansing woman who heard screaming outside her apartment Saturday night.

"When I stepped out my door, I saw a man banging on my neighbor's door and he was screaming 'help, it's an emergency!' That's when I went back inside and locked my door," the woman said.

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said the man then came to her door, rattled the door knob and yelled through an open window.

"Saying he couldn't breathe, he needed help, open the door," she said.

She called 911 and when police arrived, officers recognized the 36-year-old man as Jeffrey Odell Littlejohn Jr.

"When the officer arrived, they figured out it was someone who had previously walked away from Community Mental Health," Captain Ray Hall said.

Hall said earlier Saturday afternoon Littlejohn's family called the police asking for help, saying there was something medically wrong with him. So the police transported Littlejohn to the hospital.

"He was at Sparrow Hospital and checked out, then he was transported to Community Health," He said. "But once there, he walked away and it's their policy not to restrain."

That's when Littlejohn apparently walked down Jolly Road to an apartment building. Police said he had an outstanding arrest warrant and therefore was handcuffed on scene, but that changed when paramedics arrived.

"[The medic] said 'get these handcuffs off this man, he's not breathing," the neighbor said, "That's when he called for monitors and they hooked him up right in the front yard."

The neighbor said she didn't see Littlejohn move from that point on. He was taken to Ingham Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead Saturday night.

Now begins the investigation into what exactly led to this tragic ending.

Michigan State Police is now investigating, which is protocol when someone dies in police custody. We're told an autopsy was performed Sunday morning, but MSP did not release any information so far.


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