Video of police officer punching teen girl in the back of a squad car sparks protests

A police officer in Michigan was filmed striking a teenage girl in the back of a squad car. (Screenshot: Twitter/ms_nette09)
A police officer in Michigan was filmed striking a teenage girl in the back of a squad car. (Screenshot: Twitter/ms_nette09)

Video of a newly-suspended police officer throwing punches to a handcuffed teen girl in a squad car has produced worldwide anger and protests.

On Friday, a viral social media clip showed a female officer in Michigan beating a teen girl in the back of a police car, sparking cries from the Lansing chapter of Black Lives Matter, to charge the officers with assault, according to Lansing City Pulse.

The following video contains graphic language and might be distressing to some viewers.

The Lansing Police Department published its body-camera footage on YouTube Saturday, in which a police officer chases a teen girl wearing a lavender top and shorts through streets and backyards, commanding her to stop running. When the officer catches and handcuffs the girl, she breaks away, screaming relentlessly. The officer restrains her and walks her back to a squad car.

The teen is met by a female officer who helps carry her to the police vehicle, then places her inside, pushing her and commanding, “Get in the car.”

“You’re hurting my arm!” yells the girl, calling the officer a “stupid b****” while kicking open the car door and screaming. The officer strikes her unceasingly before shutting the car door.

On Friday, Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski spoke at a press conference. “One of our officer 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.” Yankowski promised a “thorough review” of the arrest and asked for any witness footage to aid the investigation.

He also said the 15-year-old kicked the patrol car, causing damage to the vehicle. Both teens were driven to a youth home in Lansing.

The teen’s mother Tonia Lilly told television state WLNS, “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 heard about her daughter’s arrest from the mother of the 15-year-old. “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,” Lilly told WLNS.

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.”

Lansing Mayor told the Lansing State Journal that allegations against the officers would be “taken very seriously.”

According to the Lansing State Journal, on Saturday, protestors assembled outside the police department. "That is not the conduct of what we want from our Lansing police officers,” Yankowski assured the crowd. “That is not the outcome that we are looking for. With that being said, we've got to take this case from A to Z and make sure that we get all the facts and we get all the issues onto the table and we evaluate per our polices, procedures, our core values."

Every fifteen minutes, protestors kneeled, reported the Journal, while the National Anthem played.

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