Grand Rapids Police Release Footage of Patrick Lyoya Shooting

Jaelani Turner-Williams Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with…
Patrick Lyoya poster
Photo Credit: Cory Morse/AP

On Wednesday, Grand Rapids police released several videos of an officer’s encounter with Patrick Lyoya on April 4th, which led to his death.

Protests in Grand Rapids, Michigan this week have led to footage being released of the April 4th shooting of Patrick Lyoya. Earlier this month, the Michigan resident and Congolese refugee was pulled over by a police officer just after 8 AM CT for improper registration, according to CNN.

During the interaction – which lasted for two minutes and forty seconds – Lyoya exits the vehicle as the yet-unknown officer approaches. After being instructed to get back in the vehicle, Lyoya is asked if he has a license.

“For what?” Lyoya responds.
“I’m stopping ya, do you have a license? Do you have a driver’s license, do you speak English?” the officer asks.
After confirming that he speaks English and that the license is in his vehicle, Lyoya opens the driver’s side door of his car and speaks to the unidentified passenger. Shutting the door, Lyoya then walks to the front of the vehicle, to which the officer pursues. Running away from the officer, a barefoot Lyoya is then tackled and asked to “stop resisting.”
The officer is seen deploying a Taser and his body worn camera was deactivated, reactivating when responders were at the scence. In both the passenger’s cell phone footage and another angle from the neighborhood home surveillance camera, the remainder of the incident is captured, where the officer is seen shooting Lyoya. After being told to “drop the taser,” a shot rings and Lyoya’s body goes limp.
Grand Rapids police chief Eric Winstrom confirmed that Lyoya was shot in the head, and civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump argues that shooting was an excessive use of force.
“It should be noted that Patrick never used violence against this officer, even though the officer used violence against him in several instances for what was a misdemeanor traffic stop,” Crump said.
CNN asked Winstrom what police are trained to do in pursuit of individuals during hostile encounters. “Typically the answer is that you’re trying to place him in custody… You’re trying to secure that individual,” he said. “The follow-up question, I’m sure, will be was the use of force in policy, and I’m not going to comment on that. But the test is going to be whether, in the view of a reasonable police officer, whether that deadly force was needed to prevent death or great bodily harm to that officer.”
Winstrom later said that the unnamed officer who killed Lyoya – but is currently on paid leave – is in shock.

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