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Community responds to released video of East Lansing police shooting

Community responds to released video of East Lansing police shooting
Published: May. 5, 2022 at 10:19 PM EDT|Updated: May. 6, 2022 at 12:00 AM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Video from the April 25 East Lansing police shooting outside the Lake Lansing Meijer store was released by police Thursday.

The East Lansing Police Oversight Commission voted unanimously during an April 28 meeting to mandate East Lansing Police Department release footage of the incident. The deadline to release the footage was Thursday.

East Lansing Police Chief Kim Johnson said the video was released in the spirit of transparency.

“Building public trust means remaining present in challenging times, engaging in tough conversations, and being as transparent as possible with our community members,” Johnson. “We are releasing the video footage here today as part of our commitment to transparency.”

The release of the videos are receiving a lot of reactions from people in the East Lansing community. Many people weren’t convinced the police had the right to shoot DeAnothny VanAtten and wondered why they would fire on a man running away without knowing if he had a weapon.

Parish Hickman was at the Meijer when VanAtten was shot and detained by police. After watching the footage, he thinks the police were too quick to draw their guns.

“They were quick to shoot. Where did they see the gun at? He didn’t up that [expletive] or nothing,” Hickman said. “So why did they just shoot him that quick? He was just trying to run.”

Hickman -- assuming VanAtten was concealing a weapon -- said he understands why he would run from police.

“Just fear of the police,” Hickman said. “You Black and you got a gun? That’s not about to go well.”

Kerrington Kelsey is a leader of Black Lives Matter Lansing. He believes the footage that was released was suspect.

“There was no proof whether that gun that was found on the scene was DeAnthony’s,” Kelsey said. “Whether he even had it in the Meijer to begin with. Oh wait, that footage -- what happened in the Meijer -- did not make it to this cut.”

Johnson said they only released part of the video due to the ongoing investigation by Michigan State Police.

The East Lansing Police Department are not releasing the name of the officer who fired the shots. News 10 spoke with the officer’s attorney, who said the video shows the incident was handled correctly.

“I’m glad that the body warn cameras and the footage is out there. It confirms for me what I’ve believed -- that is that the officers acted reasonably and appropriately,” said attorney Mike Nichols. “They addressed an immediate threat, not only to themselves but to the public. The investigation is in the hands of MSP which is where it should be.”

The investigation is still ongoing by Michigan State Police. After the investigation is completed, it will be turned over to the Office of the Attorney General, who will decide if anyone will be charged with a crime.

No one has been charged with a crime with the incident.

The full press conference and all the video content released Thursday can be found on the City of East Lansing’s official website here.

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