A year after Patrick Lyoya was killed by a now-disgraced Grand Rapids police officer, his family is still awaiting justice. Today (May 13), Patrick’s loved ones gathered for a memorial at his headstone at Resurrection Cemetery in Wyoming, Michigan.
The 26-year-old Congolese refugee was shot in the back of the head on April 4, 2022. He had been pulled over by former officer Christopher Schurr for a license plate violation. At some point after exiting his vehicle, Patrick was grabbed by the officer, and the two became involved in a brief altercation. Patrick was tackled to the ground and shot after he attempted to flee the scene on foot.
Schurr claimed that he fired his weapon in self-defense, claiming that the man had gotten ahold of his taser. His accusations, however, were later proven to be false. He was also condemned for not following protocol, which likely could have prevented the escalation of events that day. Schurr was also charged with second-degree murder. His trial is expected to begin in October after being pushed back several months.
“We have to find justice for Patrick. Everybody knows how Patrick’s life was taken away, and today, they’re doing everything they can to drop off the case,” said Peter Lyoya, Patrick’s father, at the memorial, reported news outlet MLive today. In December, the Lyoya family filed a $100 million civil lawsuit against the city of Grand Rapids and Schurr. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said the tragic incident was a prime example of racial profiling. “When you take driving while Black plus excessive force, you end up with Patrick Lyoya being unjustly executed by this Grand Rapids police officer,” said Crump at a press conference announcing the suit last year.
As their pursuit for justice continues, the Lyoya family has planned a rally for Saturday, May 20, at Kalamazoo Avenue SE and Evergreen Street SE from 3-5 p.m.
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