Lansing Police Chief addresses controversial arrest and community trust

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 7:57 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Lansing’s Police Chief is addressing allegations of police brutality by his officers.

In an exclusive interview with News 10, Chief Daryl Green said it has been a challenging year.

When Green first took the job as chief of the Lansing Police Department, he talked a lot about transparency and community policing.

“My passion, really, was to assist with the community, to connect with community members, help solve problems...collaborate,” said Green.

The department is being sued over the death of a man being held at the city jail. Council member Brandon Betz is leading calls to cut the department’s funding. In addition, the officers involved in last week’s controversial arrest on Baker Street are under investigation and have caused an uproar within the community.

When calls to defund the police came over the summer, Green promised change and accountability. He hopes addressing issues head-on and being open helps show that.

“Definitely transparency is key. You know that’s a pillar in our philosophy here at the Lansing Police Department, as well as oversight and accountability reform,” said Green.

The incident on Baker Street where officers were seen on video hitting a man they say was resisting arrest drew national attention and challenged the goal of accountability and community trust.

“I’ll say this, that you know, definitely the incident at Baker Street was an incident that looked bad on camera, and we immediately took those steps to make sure that our public knew that we were concerned about their feelings,” said Green.

He says the NAACP called and held him accountable.

“I will definitely do all of those and do my best to implement the recommendations of the NAACP so we can move forward. You know, the thing about policing is, we have to deal with incidents that occurred. But we have to deal with, being in a environment we’re in, whereas, we have to be ready for that next incident as it occurs as well. And so, I’m doing everything I can do to be transparent,” said Green.

But from talking to people who live in the community where it happened, the Baker Street incident has left a stain.

“Trust is hard to get back once you lose it. They lost trust a long time ago,” said Dre, who saw the incident last week. “The way they got here and acted that night, they actually caused more harm to him than the people who tried to jump him.”

As for the death of Anthony Houlon, the man held in the city lockup, the four officers involved are back on duty. Meanwhile, the police department is still being sued by the family. Green says he made the decision for a good reason.

“I’ve seen, you know, different camera angles and so, I have a little more information to make those decisions. You know, unfortunately I can’t, you know, the status of the case right now. I can’t release everything that I was able to review and fully discuss all of the variables and considerations I used to make a determination to bring those persons back to work,” said Green. ”You know, during a pandemic you know, to help our staff, make sure we can facilitate our mission to move forward. But, you know, there’s a host of different considerations and know, I think it’s a little bit different when you’re talking about control setting in a detention center versus putting someone back out on the street.”

The Michigan State Police investigation into the incident is still ongoing.

So much has happened to make the community lose hope, but Green says he doesn’t plan on giving up.

Green says morale within the department is low and the community and police need to work together to get the crime down.

“I have intentions on staying at the Lansing Police Department, and I certainly applaud the community for holding me accountable. And for also giving me a fair shake and an opportunity to make adjustments as needed for this department so we can all successively collaborate for better public safety,” said Green.

He shared a message for those wondering why he’s made some of the decisions he has this year.

“I do the best I can to, you know, deliver the best course of action and decision for the city. My decisions are not always popular, but you know they’re not made in a bubble. I look at a host of different variables. And, you know, we just try to move forward from there,” said Green.

Green added that now is not the time to decrease funding to the force; one reason being his concerns about the increase in violence across the city.

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