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Lansing City Council looking at repealing 15 ordinances for police reform

Published: Feb. 8, 2021 at 3:43 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Being too loud or annoying, playing in the street, or walking in a park after dark are all reasons you could be stopped by police and ticketed in Lansing and a city councilmember wants to change that.

“The problem is any police officer can pretty much use their own discretion and decide whether this person is loud and boisterous or decide whether this person’s conduct is annoying,” said councilmember Brian Jackson.

Jackson knows because he used to prosecute them as criminal misdemeanors as the city’s attorney.

“Some that are more common like drug paraphernalia, in a park after dark, loitering in a drug area, loud and boisterous conduct. Those were the most common and they were fairly common-especially loud and boisterous. There was a lot of those and I always wondered about why we have them and why don’t we get rid of it,” said Jackson.

Now he is asking the rest of the council to support getting rid of at least 15 of those ordinances--hoping to further police reform in the city.

“Since the crime itself is not very malicious in my opinion, I think that we should just repeal the law so that the police don’t have to make those hard decisions and community members can be free from being stopped and being prosecuted for petty conduct like this,” said Jackson.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL MEETING AGENDA.

Joseph Wolue, who has lived in Lansing for 40 years, is all for it.

“If I could go to the meeting, I would say that most of these things aren’t necessary. There’s so much more we need to do,” said Wolue.

Others like Steven Arther are still trying to make up their mind.

“Some petty stuff does need to be regulated but at the same time, a lot petty crimes do need to be reformed and repealed. I mean as far as penalty goes, laws are set in place for whatever reason,” said Arther.

Jackson does expect to get criticism about this proposal but says tonight the point is just to get the conversation started and get feedback from all stakeholders involved.

The council is expected to refer it to a committee so the real work can begin.

Lansing Police says Chief Daryl Green is still reviewing the documents and is looking to schedule time with Lansing Police Department staff to further discuss.

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