Grand Rapids Police Department Officer Christopher Schurr has been charged with one count of second-degree murder in the shooting and killing of Patrick Lyoya, according to CNN. Lyoya was shot in the back of the head following a struggle with Schurr during a traffic stop April 4.
Body camera footage of the moments leading up to Lyoya’ death was released to the public. Per the footage, Schurr stopped Lyoya for an unregistered license plate. The two wrestled on the ground on a nearby lawn as Lyoya allegedly resisted arrest. Schurr’s Taser was disarmed during the struggle and he ended up grabbing his gun and shot Lyoya in the back of the head while he was face down on the ground.
Kent County Prosecuting Attorney Christopher Becker finally made a decision after facing pressure from the public to prosecute Schurr.
More on the charges from CNN:
“This is not a message. This is just based on the facts and making a decision in this case,” Kent County Prosecuting Attorney Christopher Becker told reporters Thursday.
In May, Becker announced he was seeking guidance from outside experts before deciding whether to charge the officer. The city of Grand Rapids placed the officer on paid leave and suspended his police powers after the shooting.
The family’s independent autopsy and the official autopsy both confirmed Lyoya died from a gunshot to the back of the head. Lyoya’s father previously said his son was executed.
Residents of Grand Rapids led days of protests demanding accountability and the release of the officer’s name which was withheld for days following the shooting. Lyoya’s family said in previous reports that Patrick had moved from the Republic of the Congo to escape violence only to be met with it in the US. The family is being represented by civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump.
“While the road to justice for Patrick and his family has just begun, this decision is a crucial step in the right direction. Officer Schurr must be held accountable for his decision to pursue an unarmed Patrick, ultimately shooting him in the back of the head and killing him – for nothing more than a traffic stop,” Crump said in a statement.