Outrage has spread like wildfire along with a viral video showing a white Lansing, Michigan, police officer repeatedly punching a Black teen girl whom she was trying to force into the back of a police car.
According to the Lansing City Pulse, the incident occurred on Friday morning, in which the unidentified female officer appears to hit the 16-year-old girl at least 16 times in the thigh as she attempted to take her and another juvenile, a 15-year-old boy, back to the Ingham County Youth Center.
Both teens were wanted for probation violations and under warrants as runaways for escaping from custody.
Bystander video, as well as body-camera footage that the police department released on Saturday, shows the female officer run toward the girl. The teen screams and struggles as the female officer and another officer handcuffed her. As they try to walk her back to the squad car, the child drops down, resisting. The female officer grabs her feet while the male officer takes her underneath one elbow carting her back to the car like a bag of groceries. All the while, the teen is screaming saying that officers are hurting her arm, which they ignore.
The officers shove the teen into the squad car as she curses at officers, calling one officer a “stupid b–tch”. The female officer tries to shut the car door, however the girl sticks out her leg preventing that from happening.
That was when the officer started punching the girl several times in her leg as she screams even more.
At one point the officer attempts to close in the car door even with the girl’s leg propping it open, eliciting more screams and protests from bystanders, who were concerned that the officer would break the girl’s leg.
Eventually, the girl was detained in what Lansing Police Chief Michael Yankowski called a “successful arrest.”
Yankowski at a press conference on Friday said that, “One of our officers used a training technique, what we call a strike to the thigh…I want to also state that it is the policy of the Lansing Police Department that officers will only use force when it’s objectively reasonable,” according to Yahoo! News.
Yankowski said that the incident will get a “thorough review.”
The female officer is currently on paid injury leave due to “cuts and scrapes” and a sprained hand, according to the Lansing City Pulse. Yankowski added that other officers may have sustained minor injuries as well in the incident. Apparently, the 16-year-old was not injured in the encounter.
The girl’s mother, Tonia Lilly, believes that officers could have handled the incident differently.
“I am appalled, I saw the press conference, standard procedure? If I punch my kid like that, it would be child abuse, so I don’t see how a stranger can restrain a child by punching them,” Lilly told WLNS.