Kent County prosecuting attorney Christopher Becker, must decide whether the officer who shot and killed Patrick Lyoya will face criminal charges, reported NPR. The official and independent autopsies on Lyoya’s death confirmed he died of a gunshot wound to the back of the head. Advocates and Lyoya’s family demand justice for they call an execution.
While Michigan State Police investigate the incident, Officer Christopher Schurr has been placed on paid leave without policing duties. Becker said he needs more information including forensic evidence regarding the body camera and Taser to make a decision on charges. While he requests more information from MSP, advocates apply pressure on Becker as they await his decision.
They demand Schurr be charged as the need for police reform is long overdue. They also questioned the ethics of Becker prosecuting the case while having ties to the police department.
More on the case from NPR:
“You’re a prosecutor. Your job is to make sure the law is uphold, and if anybody breaks it, no matter if they’re a police officer no matter if they are a regular civilian,” activist, Davionne Smith, a Black Grand Rapids resident said during a weekend protest. Smith has been shot at by GRPD and is a cousin of Breonna Taylor.
“If people would have listened, it would have been preventable, but now it’s like an ‘I told you so’ moment. That’s exactly what it is now. ‘I told you so,’ “ activist Olabanji Olatunde said during a march to a Grand Rapids City Commission meeting.
City leaders said they are working toward change. During a meeting to address the city’s 2023 budget, Grand Rapids City Manager, Mark Washington, proposed a plan that, if voted in, that, would ramp up the budget for the city’s Office of Oversight and Public Accountability, taking it from 404,781 in fiscal year 2022 to $1.7 million.
Lyoya’s family continue to grieve Patrick’s death as the case goes on. “I was thinking that Patrick would take my place, and to see that my son has been killed like an animal by a police officer, I see that I have no life,” said Lyoya’s father Peter.
On the other hand, the Grand Rapids Police Officer Association has thrown their full support behind Schurr under the argument“officers have a right to protect themselves.” In a statement the association called the incident a “volatile” and “dangerous” situation for Schurr.
Becker said his findings could be “earth-shattering” or nothing at all. Until then, demonstrators will continue saying Patrick’s name.