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Patrick Lyoya’s Family Seeks Peaceful Protest After Body Cam Video Emerges

The family of Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old black man shot dead April 4 by Michigan police, is calling for a peaceful protest after a video of his final moments was released by Grand Rapids police. Above, City Police Chief Eric Winstrom speaks as Brandon Davis of the city’s Office of Oversight and Public Accountability stands to his left and City Manager Mark Washington to his right during a conference of press on Wednesday.
Bill Pugliano/Getty

The family of a black man shot dead by police in Michigan called for a peaceful protest the day body camera footage of his final moments emerged.

The Grand Rapids Police Department released video on Wednesday taken from a camera carried by an officer who confronted Patrick Lyoya, 26, during a traffic stop on April 4. Footage shows Lyoya, who appears unarmed, running away, then struggling with the officer after being arrested. The footage was cut after the officer and Lyoya fought over a Taser just before the shooting, with police saying the camera was inadvertently disabled. It picks up after Lyoya takes a fatal bullet to the back of the head.

Following a meeting with Lyoya’s family on Wednesday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer promised that Michigan State Police would “conduct a transparent and independent investigation into the shooting” and that prosecutors would “take appropriate action.” regarding the charges”. Whitmer said Lyoya’s father, Peter, asked those protesting the death to remain peaceful.

“The Lieutenant Governor and I have spoken with Patrick’s family and our hearts are with them and the community of Grand Rapids as they face unimaginable pain and loss,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. “Patrick’s father has asked me to convey his hope that any protests honoring his son will remain peaceful, and as governor, I share that view.”

“We must come together and build a future where black people in Michigan enjoy equal rights, dignity and safety in our communities,” she continued. “I will never stop fighting to make Michigan a fairer and more just state.”

Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II added that Peter Lyoya “has described his son as a generous and caring man who he wants to be remembered peacefully” and stressed the need to be “accountable” to the family “as quickly as possible “.

The name of the officer involved in the shooting, who has been placed on administrative leave, has not been released. Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom said at the press conference Wednesday that the officer was being treated “as we would anyone else” and that his name would be released “if the ‘officer is charged with a crime’.

Winstrom noted that he was not personally involved in the Michigan State Police’s investigation into the “by design” shooting and concerns about a potential “conflict of interest.”

In addition to the body-worn camera footage, Grand Rapids police have released videos of the shooting taken from multiple sources. A graph video appears to show the officer straddling Lyoya face down while shouting “drop the taser”, just before shooting him in the back of the neck. The taser is not clearly visible in the video, which ends after the officer shouts “come back,” to the person recording as he rises to stand over Lyoya’s lifeless body.

A statement regarding the footage was released by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents the Lyoya family. Crump noted that Lyoya, the father of two young children, immigrated to the United States from the Democratic Republic of Congo to “pursue the American dream” for himself and his family, but was “deadly shot in the back of the head” instead. .

“The video clearly shows that this was a unnecessary, excessive and deadly use of force against an unarmed black man who was confused by the encounter and terrified for his life,” Crump said. “It should be noted that Patrick never used violence against this officer even though the officer used violence against him on several occasions for what was a misdemeanor traffic stop.”

“We demand that the officer who killed Patrick not only be fired for his excessive and deadly use of force, but that he be arrested and prosecuted for the violent murder of Patrick Lyoya,” he added.

Newsweek contacted Crump’s office for additional comment.


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