Grand Rapids, Michigan, police officer Christopher Schurr has been charged with the second-degree murder of an unarmed Black man named Patrick Lyoya on April 4. Lyoya had been pulled over in a traffic stop.
Schurr shot the Lyoya, 26, in the back of the head following a struggle during a traffic stop. As Lyoya was on the ground, Shurr demanded that Lyoya “let go” of his Taser, NPR reported. Shurr ultimately restrained Lyoya with his knee to his back, and he shot Lyoya as he was face down on the ground.
Lyoya, a refugee from Congo, had been stopped because of an issue with his license plate. In graphic police bodycam footage of the incident, there seemed to be confusion when Schurr asked Lyoya for his driver’s license. Lyoya appeared to ask his passenger to hand it to him; when that didn’t happen, he went over to the passenger side. As he walked over, Schurr demanded he stop; that was when Lyoya started to run.
In all, there were four videos of the incident, including from a dashcam and a cellphone, which showed Lyoya and Schurr struggling on the ground, with Lyoya apparently trying to take control of the officer’s stun gun.
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Kent County prosecutor Chris Becker announced his decision to charge Schurr after he spent six weeks examining forensic and toxicology reports, as well as the results of an official investigation conducted by Michigan State Police, NBC News reported.
“This is not a quick decision I took lightly,” Becker said when announcing the charge on June 9. “I hope that it sends the message that we take these cases seriously.”
“Everyone thinks prosecutors are an arm or branch for police and we are not … Our duty is public safety; we work with them but we don’t work for them.”
Lyoya’s family is represented by civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump.
Photo: A TV display shows video evidence of a Grand Rapids police officer struggling with and shooting Patrick Lyoya at Grand Rapids City Hall on April 13, 2022. Lyoya, 26, was shot and killed about 8:10 a.m., on April 4, after what police said was a traffic stop. (Grand Rapids Police Department)
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