Police departments oppose new prosecution policy

Ingham County isn’t filing charges found in minor traffic stops
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 7:47 PM EDT
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STOCKBRIDGE, Mich. (WILX) - Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth, and most police chiefs in the county, are worried about a new policy that would cut the number of crimes prosecuted in Ingham County. Earlier in the week, the Ingham County prosecutor’s office announced it will no longer charge crimes found during a traffic stop it finds are not a threat to the public.

Police chiefs across the county said this policy doesn’t do what its supposed to and leaves criminals on the street.

“The vehicle is the nexus to many crimes. We have to have tools and they are in the motor vehicle code, we use those to find criminals,” said Stockbridge Police Chief Johnnie Torres.

Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon announced Tuesday she won’t be filing any charges from minor traffic stops. This means if someone is pulled over for a broken taillight and officers find drugs or an illegal gun inside, no one is charged.

Siemon said its an effort to address systemic racial bias. Torres said this policy doesn’t change in his small town.

“We don’t have those issues that she considers us stopping somebody and focusing on the person, as she states in the policy,” said Torres.

People in Stockbridge say the policy itself could be viewed as a form of racial profiling.

“The idea behind it is to not do racial profiling, then we’re assuming people of color had these things in their cars,” said Karen Smith.

Smith said this policy could put her in danger.

“Just because it’s a small town doesn’t mean that pull-overs aren’t going to happen where illegal substances or loaded guns in cars. It happens everywhere, including Stockbridge,” she said.

Police chiefs told News 10 they were supposed to work with the prosecutor on developing a policy, but that didn’t happen.

News 10 contacted the Ingham County Prosecutor to get comments on the police chiefs’ concerns, but we were told Seimon didn’t have anything more to say.

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