There’s no dispute that Grand Rapids cop Christopher Schurr killed 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya by shooting him in the back of the head. There’s no question that Lyoya was unarmed when Schurr pulled him over or that the traffic stop that ended in Lyoya’s death was for a nonviolent infraction (the car Lyoya was driving had a license plate that didn’t match its registration) in the first place.
But the local police union apparently believes that killing Lyoya was the only way to ‘protect the community’ from…the scourge of dangerous unarmed men driving rogue vehicles with unmatched license plates? Apparently that’s their story, and true to cop union form, they’re sticking to it, no matter how outwardly ridiculous the logic is.
From the Associated Press
The Grand Rapids Police Officers Association called Lyoya’s death “tragic” but said an “officer has the legal right to protect themselves and community in a volatile dangerous situation such as this, in order to return to his/her family at the end of their shift.”
The union’s full statement, posted to Facebook, touts Schurr’s seven years of policing experience, his degree in accounting and his “extensive community involvement outside of police work,” which includes being a missionary in Kenya and working in a juvenile detention facility.
“Police Officers are often required to march into episodes that turn dangerous for the officer and members of the public,” the statement continues.
“While most police interactions remain peaceful, this is not always the case. Police are trained that a simple traffic stop can quickly turn dangerous or deadly for the police officer or innocent bystanders.
Or for the unarmed person they’ve detained, like Patrick Lyoya, or Michael Brown, or 12-year-old Tamir Rice, or Antwon Rose Jr., or George Floyd, or…you get the point.
It’s unclear exactly what the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association thinks Schurr was defending against, or protecting, by extinguishing his Lyoya’s life as the officer was on top of the man, who was already on the ground. It’s less clear what calamity they believed would befall the roughly 200,000 people who live in Grand Rapids had Lyoya lived to receive a citation or even been arrested, charged and tried with his infraction, instead of dying on the side of the road.
Perhaps there’s a history class being taught somewhere that reveals the connection between mismatched motor vehicle records and the fall of a civilization, though if it exists, I doubt it was part of Schurr’s coursework to receive the Michigan Commission of Law Enforcement Standards certification the police union noted in his post.
Or, maybe the only thing the police union is interested in protecting is yet another cop from accountability.