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News highlights from the last 7 days

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Six people were arrested on misdemeanor charges after the vandalization of the Bank of America in the Frandor Shopping Center. About 30 people threw glass candles through the bank’s windows, and “stop cop city” was spray painted on the building’s exterior. Police said they were aware of national protests regarding a police shooting in Atlanta but didn’t expect anything to happen locally. John Cichy, 29; Sarah Karloyi, 29; Leah Fitch, 40; Aliza Ghaffari, 32; and Erin Paskus, 26, were all charged with hindering and opposing police. Fitch and Ghaffari were also charged with being in a park after dark, and Kelley Smith, 33, was charged with resisting an officer.

East Lansing City Council voted unanimously to end its contract with former City Manager George Lahanas, naming retired Fire Chief Randy Talifarro his interim replacement. Lahanas’ severance package includes a lump sum of $172,896, equivalent to one year’s wages; $46,035 for unused paid time off; and dental, health and life insurance coverage for him and his family through Feb. 2024. The city will also provide health insurance for the family for five years after Lahanas’ 60th birthday until he is eligible for Medicare. Mayor Ron Bacon said there was nothing “disparaging” or scandalous about the decision; the city simply wanted to move in a new direction. 

An arbitrator upheld Michael Lynn Jr.’s termination from the Lansing Fire Department, according to Lansing State Journal. Lynn was fired by the city in 2021 for posting former Lansing Police Chief Daryl Green’s cell phone number in a Facebook comment after the department made a post in remembrance of a police dog killed in a 1999 shootout but didn’t name Aldric McKinstry Jr., a young Black man who was also killed. Lynn filed a grievance shortly after his termination for “contract violations on progressive discipline, lack of notice about the investigation and the denial of a ‘reasonable accommodation’ request for the disciplinary hearing” since he was out of state at the time, the Journal said. The city requested the arbitration hearing in response. Scott Batey, Lynn’s attorney, said he’s looking into starting a case that could end up in federal or state courts.

Claire Elizabeth Powers, 34, of Haslett, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder for the death of her 4-year-old son. Powers and her son overturned while kayaking on Lake Lansing on March 29, 2022. An off-duty Meridian Township firefighter heard her cries for help and called 911. First responders pulled the pair out of the water, and they were taken to Sparrow Hospital. The child was pronounced dead shortly after. The boy was not wearing a life jacket, and first responders couldn’t find one anywhere near the scene. According to Lansing State Journal, the arrest warrant cited a “willful and wanton disregard” for her son’s safety. A hearing is set for Feb. 14; Powers could face a maximum of life in prison if convicted.

DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0

Michigan State University found “significant improvements” in relationship violence and sexual misconduct on campus for the 2021-‘22 school year. More than 11,500 students, staff and faculty responded to the school’s latest Know More @ MSU survey. The data indicates that since its 2019 survey, there has been a decrease in sexual assaults, sexual harassment and workplace incivility. There has also been “an improvement in most measures of climate and culture.” However, more than 72% of undergraduate transgender and nonbinary students and more than 21% of transgender and nonbinary faculty and staff reported experiencing sexual harassment. “Over the next semester, it will be our goal to focus on building specialized resources and prevention methods centering these identities,” said Carrie Moylan, associate professor in the College of Social Sciences and Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Workgroup member. 

Four men have been arrested in Delta Township as part of a joint Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team operation by the sheriff’s offices of Eaton and Genesee counties. On Nov. 17 and Dec. 8, the men separately tried to meet an underage individual to engage in sexual activity. One was carrying a loaded 9-mm., semi-automatic pistol. “This proactive operation prevents child sexual predators from harming our children as well as their recruitment of human trafficking victims,” said Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reich.

The East Lansing Police Department addressed concerns about a man who has been walking around the city wearing a black plastic mask and carrying a hammer and scissors. In a Facebook post, the department said officers have been in communication with the man over the past couple of weeks. They met with him and his family to discuss his behavior, and both parties explained to him the consequential fear in the community. Department staff, its Neighborhood Resource Teams and its Crisis Intervention Team are monitoring the man for any law violations.

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