The Lansing Police Department is investigating graphic footage of an off-duty police officer pinning down an African-American teenager and threatening his life for alleged trespassing.
The video spread quickly across social media this week, sparking outrage.
“I CAN’T even do this to MY OWN kids!” one critic commented on Facebook. “If I grabbed my son around the neck while straddling him and telling him I’ll kill him for (insert reason), I will be arrested … For multiple charges, including but not limited to child abuse, terrorist threats, assault with intent!!! Come on Lansing PD! We are all watching!!!”
The incident unfolded Saturday, June 24, as Lansing police responded to a brawl between a large group of teens, according to a department press release. The fight had ended by the time police arrived and a few of the boys were able to get away — only to find themselves in yet another altercation.
“You guys are on my f—ing property!” an off-duty Lansing police officer is heard yelling in the video while pinning 15-year-old Jordan Brunson to the ground with a hand on the boy’s neck.
Brunson then yells to the officer to let him go, to which the cop responds, “No, you are on my f—ing property! I could f—ing kill you!”
At one point in the footage, a woman exits the officer’s home and says, “You guys came to the wrong house.” Brunson’s friend was recording at the time of the incident.
In a press release, authorities said the off-duty officer discovered a book bag in his fenced backyard that didn’t belong to him. The officer said he found a baseball cap and a “realistic BB gun” inside the bag and soon encountered a bloodied white teen who said he had been jumped by a group of Black teens.
While speaking with the 15-year-old white teen on his porch, Brunson approached, also sporting a book bag. The release said both of the teens tried to leave at that point, but the off-duty officer insisted that they stay until police arrived.
Both teens refused to stay, however, and tried to flee, prompting the officer to physically detain one of them — Brunson.
“The Lansing Police Department is aware of the video that has been subsequently posted on social media regarding the incident, and had initiated an investigation into the matter prior to its public posting,” the police said in a statement.
Brunson told Chicago’s WGN 9 that he was only trying to help his friend, who was sitting on the officer’s porch after getting beat up by another teen who believed the white youth had tried to give his younger sibling a beverage with drugs in it.
“I was examining [the white teen], I was going to go tell his grandmother,” the Black teen said, adding that the off-duty officer came out of nowhere and grabbed them both. The boys were eventually turned over to responding officers.
Lashawnya Brunson, Brunson’s aunt, posted the video shot by her nephew’s friend to Facebook and called the officer’s actions excessive and outrageous.
“If he wasn’t an officer, just a regular man, would they do the same thing?” she told WGN 9. “No, he’d be locked up.”
The news station reported that Brunson’s family has since filed a police report and wants the officer brought up on charges.