This morning, Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth released the names of municipal heads from Ingham County who have signed onto his two-paragraph statement denouncing Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon’s policy change regarding felony firearm charges.
East Lansing Mayor Jessy Gregg and Williamstown Township Supervisor Wanda Bloomquist have turned out to be the only municipal heads asked who declined to add their signatures to the document.
Wriggelsworth ultimately canvassed 23 municipal heads in Ingham, including 5 mayors, 16 township supervisors, and 2 village presidents. In an alert this morning sent from his Ingham County office, Wriggelsworth wrote,”My goal was to get feedback from, and gauge how they felt about the policy.”
Siemon has framed the issue as one of racial equity – a framing with which Gregg and East Lansing’s City Council seemed to agree at Tuesday’s Council meeting. Wriggelsworth has insisted it is a matter of public safety.
Ultimately, 21 out of 23 leaders signed.
Lansing Mayor Andy Schor, Leslie Mayor Pro Tem Pam Beegle, Mason Mayor Russ Whipple, and Williamston Mayor Tammy Gilroy all added their signatures.
Dorwin Marshall of White Oak, Wayne Myer of Wheatfield, John Lazet of Vevay, C.G. Lantis of Stockbridge, Phil Hutchinson of Onondaga, Ron Styka of Meridian, Dorothy Hart of Locke, Todd Eldred of Leslie, Earl Griffes of Leroy, Bruce Harris of Ingham, John Hayhoe of Delhi, Gene Ulrey of Bunker Hill, Larry Silsby of Aurelius, Steve Lott of Alaiedon, and Diontrae Hayes of Lansing – all township supervisors – signed as well, as did village presidents Brad Hitchcock of Webberville and Molly Howlett of Stockbridge.
The petition asks Siemon to “reconsider her internal felony firearm charging policy” which shifted in August of this year in regard to those charged with felonies in which a firearm was present but not used. See the signed statement here.
Siemon’s office made it clear that the county prosecutor’s goal in this policy reform was to address systemic racial inequities in how the previous policy had been applied. But Wriggelsworth says his experience tells him that Siemon’s policy will lead to more gun violence.
For more on this story, see this reporting from ELi.
Updates: Advised of the Sheriff’s announcement, Siemon told ELi, “My position will not change unless there is evidence that the policy has created a negative outcome. There is little reason to believe that will occur, but I will keep a keen eye open.” See a full statement from her office here. You can also see the signed statement organized by the Sheriff here.
Correction, Sept. 17, 1 p.m.: Due to an editor’s error, “Williamstown Township” was incorrectly spelled “Williamston” in the original version of this article. This has been corrected.