Two Michigan police officers have recently been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into police body cam videos that depict one of the officers repeatedly punching a handcuffed teen. Although the teenage girl was resisting arrest, her hands were cuffed behind her back and she had been restrained by a seat belt when the female officer began striking her.
Around 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Lansing police officers Lindsey Howley and Bailey Ueberroth were called to check on a 16-year-old female and 15-year-old male on probation violations, escaping from custody, and runaway warrants. According to police body cam footage, the teens attempted to flee immediately after the officers arrived and identified themselves.
A few minutes later, the teens were apprehended. Officers Howley and Ueberroth cuffed the female teen’s hands behind her back and placed her inside a police SUV.
As Howley attempted to shut the door, the teen girl kicked the door to prevent the officer from closing it. With the teen’s leg extended in defiance, Howley punched her in the thigh nearly 20 times according to her own body cam video.
On Friday, Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski spoke at a press conference: “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.”
“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,” the 16-year-old’s mother, Tonia Lilly, told WLNS. “When she called me, you could hear my daughter screaming in the background saying they were hurting her, you could hear the neighbors saying that they were punching a child.”
In a statement on Friday afternoon, Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said, “I am aware of the incident this morning regarding one of our police officers and the two youths who were resisting arrest. Allegations and complaints against our police officers are taken very seriously and we have launched an investigation into this incident. We hold our police officers to the highest standards of professionalism and integrity.”
According to a police press release: “On Saturday, June 15th, Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski placed Officers Lindsey Howley, a 1-year department employee, and Bailey Ueberroth, a 6 month department employee, on administrative leave while an Internal Affairs investigation is conducted regarding their actions during the arrest of a 16 year old juvenile on June 14th.”
The 16-year-old girl was taken to the Ingham County Youth Home and did not require any medical treatment.
No criminal charges have currently been filed against Howley.