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Teenager punched by Lansing police officer during 2019 arrest sues the city

Bodycam footage of DeShaya Reed
Posted at 5:02 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 17:06:43-04

LANSING, Mich. —

A woman who was punched repeatedly by a Lansing police officer is suing the city, former Police Chief Mike Yankowski, and two police officers.

"They hurt me. And they hurt my feelings"

"They hurt me. And they hurt my feelings," said DeShaya Reed, in an exclusive interview with Fox 47.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, alleges, among other things, that officers used excessive force during the arrest; discriminated against Reed, who is Black, based on her race; and denied her due process. It also claims the city is liable for failing to adequately train officers.

She is seeking compensation "in excess of $25,000."

The city of Lansing declined to comment on the case because they have not been served yet.

Reed was arrested by Lansing Police on June 14, 2019, when she was 16 years old. She hadn't been in school for a couple of weeks. She says didn't go to school that day because she was embarrassed about a cold sore.

Reed says her boyfriend's sister got mad at the two of them, knew they were on the run and called police on them. When officers Lindsey Howley and Bailey Ueberroth arrived, Reed admits, she ran.

"To be honest with you I was on the run. I didn't want to get caught. But it happens and I knew I was going to get caught, I knew that I was going to go to the youth center anyways. That's why I stopped running," Reed said. "I ran because I didn't want to get in trouble."

DeShaya Reed sits down with FOX 47 News for an exclusive interview

UPDATE: Police report shines light on controversial arrest of teen

She was caught after a short chase. Ueberroth handcuffed her. Then, bodycam footage shows, Reed began to get upset.

"I slipped out of one handcuff and started running. And then I just stopped running because I just gave up. Then police officers grabbed me by my handcuffs," Reed said. "I was trying to tell them that it hurt and they didn't stop."

Both officers can be seen in the bodycam footage carrying Reed to the patrol car while she is crying, screaming, and lashing out. As officers tried to close the car door, Reed stuck her leg out to prevent the officer from closing it.

According to the lawsuit, Reed didn't want to be taken by police without her mother knowing where she was and so she resisted.

Bodycam video shows Howley punching Reed in the thigh multiple times while yelling out "break your leg" while trying to get her into the vehicle. Howley also closed her foot in the door several times.

I just know that police officers are not supposed to do that.

Reed said she didn't comply because "honestly, I blacked out, and because I didn't know what was going on. I was very confused, I was angry. I was upset. I was in distress, I'm like, I don't know, I just know that police officers are not supposed to do that."

She says she didn't feel like she had control over her body during the incident. She says she has attention deficit disorder anxiety, asthma, and depression and believes that contributed to the situation, on top of other personal things she had going on.

Before this incident even happened, I already had a fear of the police

"Before this incident even happened, I already had a fear of the police, because I done seen so many Black men get shot and killed. Not in front of me and of course, but still, it's still deep down inside. I still feel that and I'm am colored so like I was really scared that day," Reed said.

Reed says this incident has caused her a lot of trauma. And now she's looking for someone to be held accountable for what happened to her.

"Yes, I was resisting, but you should never treat a child like that."

"Yes, I was resisting, but you should never treat a child like that. I was 16. I'm 18 now. You should never treat somebody who's a child like that," Reed said. "I didn't do that much for that to happen to me."

Howley was suspended for three days, and Ueberroth was placed on probation for six months.

In 2019, Yankowski said there were things that the officers involved could have done better and he believed that they needed more training.

Chief Yankowski says officers could have done better after controversial arrest

Her attorney Elizabeth Abdnour says Reed has done a lot of work on herself since the incident and was locked up for seven months because of it.

"She was having a lot of challenges really emotionally at the time of the attack on her that occurred in June of 2019," Abdnour said. "She's working two jobs right now. But she's still dealing with the aftereffects of the assault."

Abdnour says Reed wants to raise awareness about what happened to her and wants change within the Lansing Police Department when it comes to how they handle situations when minors aren't cooperating.

Attorney Elizabeth Abdnour

"If you watched any of the videos one of the things that really stands out for me is that I don't see any de-escalation techniques used. It just sort of went attack attack attack mode on a child," Abdnour said. "They had no idea what was going on with her in that moment and she had a lot of emotional trauma that she was dealing with that was being triggered by this attack on her. And the situation is escalated by the attack by the police."

Reed says she is moving forward but hopes that she can eventually leave this situation in her past.

Reed says she is moving forward but hopes that she can eventually leave this situation in her past.

"I don't want to be known as the girl who got beat up by the police officer. That's what I hope. I hope that everybody sees me as something as who I really am. I don't want people to keep seeing me as the bad person," Reed said.

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