Campus Police in Hot Seat

UNIVERSITY WIRE

EAST LANSING, Mich.--An MSU student is alleging police misconduct following two traffic stops on campus. The allegations have prompted an internal investigation by MSU police.

Taneka Jones, a psychology senior, reported that she was assaulted by an MSU police officer after she was pulled over on Nov. 23, 1996. Jones' sister, Alicia, said at a Monday press conference that during the incident Taneka Jones was struck on the head and back with a blunt object and her head was banged against the police car. The conference was held at Owen Graduate Hall.

Alicia Jones said her sister sustained a fractured skull, contusions on her legs, back and head, a "curved spine" and her hair was torn from her scalp. Alicia Jones said police took her sister to Lansing's Sparrow Hospital that night after they realized the extent of her injuries; she said her sister was treated there and released the following day.

But MSU police said Taneka Jones assaulted the officer who made the traffic stop. Police said Jones punched the officer in the face and hit her repeatedly. The officer received scrapes and bruises, police said.

MSU police Chief Bruce Benson said officers are reviewing police reports to determine when and where medical attention was given. Without reviewing those reports, he said, police are unsure if they transported Jones to the hospital.

Police stopped Jones again in July and another incident allegedly occurred, Benson said. Police declined to release details of the stop.

Jones was convicted of resisting and obstructing an arrest in June for her role in the November incident. A jury was unable to reach a verdict on the charge of assaulting a police officer, Benson said.

She was sentenced Wednesday to two years of probation and 15 days in the Ingham County Jail. She began serving her sentence that day. Authorities will release Jones to go to class while she serves her jail time, Alicia Jones said. Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Carolyn Stell, who sentenced Jones, said it's common for students to be released to attend classes.

Jones said the conference was intended to inform the MSU community about possible incidents of police brutality. "She came here and we saw the public safety and police department set on campus to assume the responsibility of protecting and serving university students," she said. "We had no idea the evil she needed to be protected from would come from within the campus walls."