GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The union representing police officers in a Michigan city is defending the officer who shot Patrick Lyoya in the back of the head.
The Grand Rapids Police Officers Association called Lyoya’s death “tragic”, but said an “officer has the legal right to protect themselves and their community in a dangerous and volatile situation such as this, in order to return to their family at the end of their shift.”
Meanwhile, a city commission meeting abruptly ended on Tuesday night as residents used profanity and expressed anger over Lyoya’s murder. Police Chief Eric Winstrom watched from the back of the room.
“Whose town? Our city! Whose streets? Our streets! people were chanting.
Lyoya, 26, was killed by Officer Christopher Schurr at the end of a brief foot chase and physical struggle that followed a traffic stop in Grand Rapids on April 4.
Lyoya was on the ground when Schurr ordered him to remove his hands from the officer’s Taser, according to video of the incident.
Schurr told Lyoya he stopped the vehicle because the license plate did not match the car.
The union said on Facebook that it “stands with Officer Schurr and will continue to provide him and his family with all the support they need.”
Lyoya’s family wants Schurr fired and charged with crimes. State police are investigating the shooting. Kent County District Attorney Chris Becker said he would not drop the case, despite pleas from civil rights activists to recuse themselves.
Earlier Tuesday, Winstrom told a community forum that he wanted to put more emphasis on officers knowing how to reduce heat during tense situations. Some experts believe Schurr should have stopped trying to subdue Lyoya when he resisted.
“I guarantee you we can do more,” said Winstrom, who has been chief for less than two months. “In fact, it’s one of the things I’ve reached out to before to tell my colleagues, ‘Hey, I need a program, because we’re going to strengthen it.'”
Find full AP coverage of the fatal police shooting of Patrick Lyoya: https://apnews.com/hub/patrick-lyoya