Court: Lansing officer has immunity in teen’s fatal shooting

DETROIT (AP) – A Lansing police officer can’t be sued for killing a teenager who was shot in the head while on her knees after already being shot in the stomach.

An appeals court calls the 2011 death of 17-year-old Derrinesha Clay a tragedy but says “police work is dangerous work.”

The court’s 2-1 decision says Officer Brian Rendon, who is white, has immunity, reversing a ruling by a federal judge.

“This incident was an unfortunate tragedy for everyone involved,” said Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski. “We stand by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, which concluded that the officers’ actions were objectively reasonable given the circumstances he faced.”

Officers responded to an after-hours alarm at a Lansing bank. Clay, who was black, came out of hiding waving scissors, which were wrested from her. But she also drew a steak knife.

The court noted that Rendon shot Clay in the stomach and head in “quick succession.”

In dissent Monday, appeals Judge Jane Stranch said there are conflicting stories about Clay’s threat.

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