Civil rights attorneys Benjamin Crump and Ven Johnson announced a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Grand Rapids and former officer Christopher Schurr in the fatal shooting of Patrick Lyoya, per Detroit News. The lawsuit comes after a Kent County prosecutor found probable cause for Schurr to stand trial for second-degree murder. Now, it’s not just Schurr who might be in trouble.
Lyoya was shot execution-style in the back of the head after a physical struggle with Schurr during a traffic stop in April, per previous reports. The attorneys claim in the suit Schurr violated federal law by his use of excessive force as well as state law for gross negligence. For creating an environment where such conduct is tolerated, the suit holds the Grand Rapids Police Department as liable along with the city.
To add weight to the claims, the attorneys’ announcement noted the resident complaints against law enforcement which came to light following the killing as more people spoke up about their mistreatment.
More on the suit from Crump’s office:
Over five years, Grand Rapids received nearly 90 citizen complaints of excessive force by GRPD officers, yet the department cleared every officer of any wrongdoing in each complaint. Schurr, who had been with the GRPD since 2015, was placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting before being fired.
“Law enforcement officers in this country cannot continue to be absolved of accountability for shooting first and asking questions later,” said Ben Crump, founder of Ben Crump Law, PLLC. “The minor punishments officers often receive do not send a message that will deter other officers from repeating this deadly cycle. This pattern needs to end here with justice for Patrick Lyoya.”
Schurr’s attorneys have argued the first few days of trial that the ex-cop had reason to believe he feared for his life because Lyoya allegedly grabbed his Taser. However, the way in which Lyoya was ultimately killed left is family and the public believing Lyoya didn’t pose a threat at the time of his death.
“What was so amazing to me, is that after Patrick was shot, I thought that his officer, Schurr, the criminal, would be arrested. Amazingly, the man is still free, is at home with his wife and his children and my son is buried and Patrick is dead,” said Lyoya’s father, Peter, via Wood TV.
No specified amount for punitive damages has been announced. Though, Crump called it a $100 million suit.