Grand Rapids Police Shoot Patrick Lyoya Video: What to Know


DETROIT — Patrick Lyoya was a “quiet kid” who didn’t like to fight, according to his father.

Peter Lyoya said his son, a 26-year-old Congolese refugee, “made a small mistake” this month. Then he was fatally shot in the back of the head by a Grand Rapids police officer.

Details emerged on Patrick Lyoya on Thursday after police released video of the fatal traffic stop. It shows that Lyoya, who is black, was shot by a white police officer after a fight. The roadside check took place on April 4.

The officer’s name has not been released and no charges have been issued. The officer has been placed on administrative leave, Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom said.

At a press conference on Thursday, Lyoya’s mother, father and younger brother joined Ben Crump, the family’s attorney, to talk about the video and Lyoya’s life.

“Patrick Lyoya immigrated to the United States from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to pursue the American dream and provide a better, safer life for himself and his family,” Crump said. “Instead, what found him was a fatal bullet to the back of the head, delivered by an officer from the Grand Rapids Police Department.”

In the video released by police on Wednesday, Lyoya struggled with the officer, attempting to grab his taser before the officer pinned him to the ground and shot him.

“It’s the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” said Thomas Lyoya, Patrick’s brother, on Thursday.

THE VIDEO:Police release video of Patrick Lyoya’s fatal shooting

IN MICHIGAN: Police shootings spark questions over stalled reform efforts

Here’s what we know:

How was the traffic shopping and shooting in Grand Rapids?

The video includes a compilation of police dash and body camera footage, a home security camera and a cellphone. It depicts a Grand Rapids police officer arresting Lyoya and a passenger for a “license plate that doesn’t match the car”.

Once Lyoya pulled over, he got out of the car and the officer told him to stay in the vehicle. The officer approached Lyoya outside his car and asked for his driver’s license. He asked if Lyoya spoke English.

Lyoya ran around the car, and the officer chased after him and tackled him to the ground on the lawn of a house. During their struggle, the officer told Lyoya to “stop resisting” and “drop the taser”.

After a few minutes, the officer was lying on top of Lyoya, who was face down, still yelling at her to “drop the taser.” He then shot him in the neck.

The passenger in the car, who recorded the interaction on his phone, told the officer, “Stop, good, you can talk to him.

RALLY FOR JUSTICE: Protesters demand accountability after video leaked

Who was Patrick Lyoya?

Lyoya immigrated to the United States with his family in 2014, fleeing violence in his home country, according to a statement from the Michigan governor’s office.

“Patrick never had a problem with anyone,” Lyoya’s father told The Associated Press through an interpreter.

Peter Lyoya said he came to the United States to escape a protracted civil unrest in which several rebel groups were vying for control of territory in mineral-rich eastern Congo. Patrick, who had two young children, worked at an auto parts plant in Grand Rapids and visited his siblings in Lansing on weekends, his father said.

The Lyoya family believed that Patrick and his siblings would be safe in the United States from the violence they escaped in Congo, Patrick’s mother, Dorcas, said Thursday at the press conference.

“When we fled the Congo war, because we were in an area that was not safe, there was a war. I thought I had arrived in a safe country, a refuge, a safe place,” she said. “I’m starting to think now, I’m surprised and amazed to see that my son, this is where my son was shot dead. … I thought it was my son who would bury me, but I’m the one burying my son.”

The Lyoya family have called for justice, sharing their grief over his passing.

“What makes me cry the most is that my son was killed by a policeman for a tiny mistake,” said Peter Lyoya. “At the time I saw this video, my heart was really deeply broken. At this moment, I see that I have no life, my life is over, my life was Patrick, my son. I thought that Patrick would take my place.”

Patrick Lyoya was killed after struggling with a policeman during a traffic check.

Protesters demand accountability

Crump, who represented the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin, called for the prosecution of the unnamed officer responsible for the shooting.

“We believe this officer should be fired for excessive and unnecessary use of deadly force,” Crump said Thursday. “His mother, father and family are asking the state attorney to charge him to the fullest extent of the law for killing their son, for breaking their hearts, for orphaning his young children.

Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, attended the press conference. Taylor, who was shot by Louisville, Kentucky, police officers in the hallway of her apartment in 2020, was born in Grand Rapids.

“I know how it feels to lose your 26-year-old to the people who are supposed to protect and serve us,” Palmer said. “The only thing that needs to happen is that this officer needs to be arrested, convicted and prosecuted.”

Hundreds of protesters marched through downtown Grand Rapids on Wednesday, where speakers called for accountability.

“No matter the color of his skin, this man should not have been killed,” DeAndre Jones said at the protest. Chants of “Black lives matter”, “No justice, no peace” and “Name this murderer” were chanted outside police headquarters.

Grand Rapids, Michigan, has a population of about 200,000, of whom about 18% are black, according to 2021 census data.

Contributor: Associated Press; Arpan Lobo and Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press

Grand Rapids Police Shoot Patrick Lyoya Video: What to Know


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