Video footage captured the traffic stop and fatal interaction between a 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya and a Grand Rapids, Michigan, police officier that resulted in Lyoya being shot in the back of his head.
The Lyoya family immigrated to the U.S. from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2014. Patrick Lyoya lived in Grand Rapids and his family lives in Lansing, Detroit News reported.
The shooting happened on April 4, but video footage was released 10 days later on April 14 by the Grand Rapids Police Department, triggering several protests in the city.
A father of two, Lyoya was fatally shot by an unnamed police officer during the traffic stop. Police have not revealed the specific reason for the stop but indicated that Lyoya’s license plate was not registered to the vehicle he was driving at the time.
In the video, viewers can see the officer pinning Lyoya to the ground, face down, and shooting him in the back of the head. Prior to being pinned down, Lyoya is seen struggling with the officer, attempting to run away, and at one point trying to block the officer’s Taser weapon from being deployed on him, The Huffington Post reported.
Lyoya was not armed.
The encounter between Lyoya and the officer unfolds on the videos. Lyoya exits the vehicle before the officer approaches. The officer instructs him to get back into the car and asks for his license and if he speaks English, to which Lyoya replies “Yes.” (The family’s native language is Swahili, said Israel Siku, an interpreter for the family.) The officer informs Lyoya he was pulled over because his license plate didn’t match his vehicle. There is also a male passenger in the car. The officer asks for Lyoya’s driver’s license.
Lyoya replies that his license is in the car, and Lyoya stands at the vehicle with the door open for about 30 seconds before closing the door. The officer yells, “nope, nope” and tries to get Lyoya on the hood of the car.
That’s when the struggle begins. Lyoya breaks free, runs around the car and into a nearby yard. The officer calls for backup, stating, “The individual is running,” and the officer catches Lyoya. They tussle over the Taser. Ultimately, the cop gets Lyoya on the ground and then shoots Lyoya in the back of the head.
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Lyoya’s family and Michigan’s Kent County Commissioner Robert Womack both described the shooting as an “execution.”
Womack called for the officer’s name to be released and declared the incident “was escalated by police.”
“We DEMAND that the officer who killed Patrick not only be terminated for his excessive and fatal force, but be arrested and prosecuted for his violent, reckless, and unjustified killing of this Black man during a misdemeanor traffic stop!” Crump tweeted.
Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom thanked the public “for their patience and understanding while waiting for the release of the video.
“I intend to continue to be as forthright and transparent as possible during the ongoing Michigan State Police investigation while maintaining my duty to protect the integrity of that investigation in the interests of justice and accountability,” Winstrom said.
Photo: Patrick Lyoya is pursued by a police officer after an April 4 traffic stop that ended with Lyoya being shot in the head. Screenshot from video released by Grand Rapids Police Department, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inuQELf75lo