Michigan police officer Christopher Schurr, indicted for the murder of Patrick Lyoya, pleads not guilty


Michigan Police Officer Christopher Schurr appeared in court on Friday to face trial in the murder of Patrick Lyoya. Lyoya, 26, was shot in the back of the neck after Schurr arrested him on April 4 for an unregistered license plate.

Schurr, who surrendered on Thursday, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The judge set Schurr’s bail at $100,000 in cash, with conditions. Schurr, an officer with the Grand Rapids Police Department, will not be permitted to purchase or possess firearms or dangerous weapons; he must present himself to the judicial services; and he is not allowed to engage in any aggressive, threatening or intimidating behavior, according to the judge.

Christopher Schurr in a police booking photo.

Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office

Schurr has been charged with second-degree murder in the fatal Lyoya shooting during the April traffic stop, Kent County District Attorney Chris Becker announced Thursday.

If convicted, Schurr could face life in prison.

PHOTO: This undated photo provided by Ben Crump Law shows Patrick Lyoya.

This undated photo provided by Ben Crump Law shows Patrick Lyoya.

Courtesy of Ben Crump Law via AP

Schurr’s attorneys were in the courtroom, but Schurr himself appeared from a distance.

Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom told ABC News on Thursday he would file paperwork before the end of the day to suspend Schurr without pay.

Body camera footage of the traffic stop, released by police, showed that Lyoya, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, was shot dead by an officer following a fight outside a house in Grand Rapids.

PICTURED: Police Officer Christopher Schurr stops to speak with a resident of Grand Rapids, Michigan August 12, 2015.

Police Officer Christopher Schurr stops to speak with a resident of Grand Rapids, Michigan, August 12, 2015.

Emily Rose Bennett/AP, FILE

The footage shows Schurr grappling with Lyoya, eventually forcing him to the ground and shouting, “Stop resisting,” “let go,” and “drop the Taser,” before shooting him. Lyoya was shot in the back of the neck, according to the Kent County Medical Examiner.

Police said Lyoya grabbed the officer’s stun gun during the altercation.

“The evidence in this case will show that the death of Patrick Lyoya was not a murder but an unfortunate tragedy, resulting from a very volatile situation,” Schurr attorneys Mark Dodge and Matthew Borgula said in a statement to WZZM, a subsidiary of Grand Rapids ABC. “Mr. Lyoya continually refused to obey lawful orders and eventually disarmed a police officer. Mr. Lyoya took full control of a police officer’s weapon while resisting arrest, raising fears in the police. grievous bodily harm or death to Officer Schurr. We are confident that after a jury hears all of the evidence, Officer Schurr will be exonerated.”

ABC News’ Whitney Lloyd and Kiara Alfonseca contributed to this report.

ABC News

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