Updated as of 4/22/2022 at 2:45 p.m. ET
Patrick Lyoya’s funeral was held on Friday at Renaissance Church of God in Grand Rapids, Michigan, according to a local NBC News affiliate.
Rev. Al Sharpton delivered a fiery eulogy for Lyoya. Sharpton’s National Action Network had already pledged to pay for the funeral, which was held open to the public; the family expected up to 1,500 people to attend.
During Sharpton’s eulogy, he called for the Justice Department to investigate Lyoya’s death and condemned the officer’s actions. “...you knew when you grabbed your gun that you didn’t have your Taser. You knew you were using a deadly weapon,” said Sharpton.
Sharpton also noted Lyoya was killed on the 54th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968.
More of Sharpton’s remarks from The Detroit News:
“As I went through the day, on my radio show and other places, I talked about how Dr. King had given his life to fight for justice and freedom for people like me,” Sharpton said. “Later that day (I learned) that on that day, 2022, that a young Black man from the Congo was shot and killed here in Grand Rapids. I said, ‘Are you serious?’”
“Is this the Michigan that not long ago where you would not convict men who would kidnap the governor?” Sharpton said. “Now, you’re going to protect the ID of the man who shot someone in the back of the head? Is this Michigan 2022 or Mississippi 1922?”
Sharpton criticized the decision to withhold the name of the Grand Rapids police officer who killed Lyoya as the names of Black men arrested by police circulate all over the news.
Per local reports, members of Congolese community attended to the funeral. Many shaken by the news of Lyoya’s death being he was a Congolese refugee who fled to the states for a safer life. People stood outside the church wearing t-shirts with “Justice for Patrick Lyoya” on the back.
His cousin, Prosper Latunda, shared more about Lyoya’s life during the service.
Read their remarks from Wood TV:
Lyoya was 26 and had two young daughters. He worked two jobs at an automotive parts factory and as a DoorDash driver. Latunda said he was saving money to send to family in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which Lyoya fled several years ago.
“They just cut his dream,” Lyoya said. “His dream now is gone. Nobody gonna know his dream no more. We’re just gonna talk about it, but nobody gonna do it.”
Latunda said Patrick had a good heart and it hurts to see people judge him. “You can’t judge a person just by looking,” Latunda said.
On April 4, Lyoya was shot and killed by a Grand Rapids police officer during a traffic stop. A struggle ensued between him and the officer leading to him being shot in the back of the head. Michigan State Police say they are investigating the shooting and released the video footage of the moments leading up to the incident.
A witness, Wayne Butler, saw the struggle between the two watching from outside his home. “”I knew it wasn’t gonna end well. If you tussle with a White man with a gun, and you’re Black in America, you end up dead,” said Butler via CNN.
Lyoya’s death touched many including Holland City Council Member Belinda Coronado who attended the funeral and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer who met personally with the family.
“We saw tears coming from her eyes. She cried the way that we’re crying,” said Patrick’s mother, Dorcas Lyoya, via local news.