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Lansing officer seen pinning 15-year-old boy in Facebook video is sued

A video circulating on social media shows an off-duty Lansing police officer throttling a black teen. Police say they are investigating the incident. | Facebook

A teenager and his family filed a civil rights lawsuit Thursday in federal court alleging a Lansing police officer used excessive force and falsely arrested him during a confrontation in June in the south suburb.

The June 24 incident was captured on video, which showed the white officer restraining and threatening the black 15-year-old. Mayor Patricia Eidam directed the officer be placed on administrative leave after the incident.

Police were called about 3:45 p.m. to reports of a fight between a number of juveniles at 192nd and Oakwood. After the brawl, a white teen had come into the off-duty officer’s yard bleeding from the face, Lansing police said.


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The boy said he “was involved in a fight in which he was beaten up by several male black juveniles,” according to police.

Another teen, a 15-year-old black boy, then came into the yard, police said. The boy’s family said he was there trying to help his friend, who had been injured. Both boys tried to leave when the officer told them to wait for police.

On the video, the officer could be seen sitting on the boy’s chest, choking and threatening to strike the boy, while the other teen asked the officer for him to be released.

According to the suit, the officer said “I’m going to F—ing kill you,” to the teen.

The boy “did nothing to provoke the attack,” Andrew M. Stroth, a civil rights attorney representing the family, said several days after the incident. “This was an assault. You can hear the officer asking his wife or friend to go get his service revolver while threatening the boy.”Andrew M. Stroth, a civil rights attorney hired by the boy’s family.

The six-count suit seeks unspecified damages from the officer and the village and said the confrontation with the officer deprived the teen of his civil rights and caused him bodily injury, fear and emotional distress.

Plaintiff attorney Andrew Stroth says the Brunson family hoped “to send a message” to Lansing by taking legal action.

The village did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday evening.

Contributing: Associated Press