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Michigan officer charged in Lyoya shooting set for hearing

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A Michigan cop who killed patrick lyoya, A black man who was on the ground when he was shot in the back of the head after a traffic stop caught on a bystander’s phone was due to have a first court hearing on Friday for second-degree murder.

Kent County Attorney Chris Becker announced its decision on Thursday to file the charges against Grand Rapids Officer Christopher Schurr, who killed Lyoya minutes after an April 4 traffic delay. Video from a passenger in the car captured the final chilling moments.

Schurr fired them fatal shot while Lyoya was downurged the 26-year-old Congo refugee to “let go” of the officer’s taser.

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“The death was not justified or excused, such as by self-defense,” the prosecutor said, reciting the elements of second-degree murder.

Schurr, who is white, told Lyoya that he stopped his car because the license plate didn’t match the vehicle. About a minute later, Lyoya started running after being asked to produce a driver’s license.

Schurr caught him quickly, and the two fought their way across a front yard in the rain before the fatal shot.

Defense attorneys said the shooting was not “murder but an unfortunate tragedy” in a volatile situation.

“Mr. Lyoya gained full control of a police officer’s weapon while resisting arrest, leaving Officer Schurr in fear of serious personal injury or death,” Matt Borgula and Mark Dodge said in a written statement.

Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom said he would recommend firing Schurr, although he was entitled to a hearing and the final decision would rest with the city manager. Schurr has been on leave since the shooting.

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Becker said he consulted experts outside of Michigan about the use of force in the case. He informed Lyoya’s parents of the charges before holding a press conference and also sent a letter in Swahili, their mother tongue.

On the other side of Detroit state, Peter Lyoya watched the announcement with his attorney Ven Johnson and said he was happy with the decision.

“We firmly believed that there was no justice in America to this day,” said Peter Lyoya. “What I want is final justice for my son.”

Schurr turned himself in and was held in a jail outside of Kent County.

His personnel file shows no complaints of excessive violence, but praise for traffic stops and car chases that led to arrests and confiscations of weapons and drugs.

Black community activists had accused Becker, a Republican, of being too close to the police and urged him to refer the case to Michigan’s Attorney General, a Democrat, to avoid even the appearance of a conflict. But the prosecutor refused.

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“Everyone thinks prosecutors are an arm or just a department of the police force. And we’re not,” Becker told reporters. “We are our own entity. We have a duty to enforce the law. We work a lot with them, but we don’t work for them.”

Grand Rapids, with a population of about 200,000, is 160 miles west of Detroit.

The shooting turned into an immediate crisis for Winstrom, who was in command in Chicago before assuming command in Grand Rapids in early March. He released Becker’s objections Video from four different sources on 04/13

“This will be a difficult time for police,” he said after the murder charges were announced. “We’ll get through this.”

Lyoya’s killing by an officer followed numerous others in recent years that involved black people, including George Floyd, his assassination in Minneapolis sparked a national reckoning on the breed;down wright, who was shot dead during a traffic stop in suburban Minneapolis; Andre Hill, who was killed in Columbus, Ohio; and Andrew Brown Jr., who was killed in North Carolina.

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White reported from Detroit. Corey Williams in Detroit and Don Babwin in Chicago contributed.

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Here is the AP’s full coverage of the fatal police shooting of Patrick Lyoya: https://apnews.com/hub/patrick-lyoya

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/national/2022/06/10/michigan-officer-charged-in-lyoya-shooting-set-for-hearing/ Michigan officer charged in Lyoya shooting set for hearing

Sarah Y. Kim

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