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The Grand Rapids Police Department released multiple videos on Wednesday of an officer shooting and killing a black man last week during a traffic stop after a brief struggle with the officer’s taser.
The post – which includes dash cam footage, body cam footage, a neighbour’s doorbell camera and a bystander’s video – was posted quickly in the interests of transparency, a said Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom.
The police officer, an unidentified white man, arrested Patrick Lyoya, 26, on the morning of April 4, because the plates of his car did not belong to the vehicle.
Lyoya, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, got out of the car before the officer could reach him. The officer asked for his permit and told him to get back in the car but Lyoya refused, then started running away.
After a brief chase on foot, the officer grabbed Lyoya and the two began to fight over the officer’s taser.
After about two minutes, the officer drew his handgun and shot Lyoya once in the head, killing him.
“From my view of the video, Taser was deployed twice. Taser did not make contact,” Winstrom said at a press conference. “And Mr. Lyoya was shot in the head. However, that’s the only information I have.”
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Ben Crump, a prominent civil rights lawyer, said the video “makes it clear that this was an unnecessary, excessive and deadly use of force against an unarmed black man who was confused by the encounter and terrified for his life”.
“We demand that the officer who killed Patrick not only be fired for his excessive and lethal use of force, but be arrested and prosecuted for the violent murder of Patrick Lyoya,” Crump said in a statement.
Kent County District Attorney Chris Becker, who will decide whether to bring charges against the officer, asked for the patience of the community as he considers all the evidence.
“This is an extremely critical incident, and one that everyone involved in the investigation takes very seriously,” Becker said. “As I said in a previous statement, I have a goal – the pursuit of truth – and I am committed to it.”
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered to protest the shooting at Grand Rapids Police Department headquarters on Wednesday night.
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The officer, a 7-year veteran of the force, will not be identified unless prosecutors file charges. The officer was placed on paid leave pending the investigation.