Michigan police have released footage of a black man being shot in the back of the head by a white cop during a struggle over a Taser following a traffic stop, prompting calls for justice as the family’s attorney claims ‘unnecessary, excessive used of force was used.’ 

Amid public outcry for transparency, police released the footage on Wednesday showing Patrick Lyoya, 26, facedown on the ground as he is fatally shot by the officer in Grand Rapids on April 4. 

The newly released footage also shows the moments leading up to the shooting, including the traffic stop that led to a brief foot chase and struggle over the cop’s Taser. 

Lyoya’s family have retained prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who called for the officer to be fired and prosecuted.

‘The video clearly shows that this was an unnecessary, excessive, and fatal use of force against an unarmed Black man who was confused by the encounter and terrified for his life,’ Crump said in a release. 

‘It should be noted that Patrick never used violence against this officer even though the officer used violence against him in several instances for what was a misdemeanor traffic stop,’ he added.  

State police have launched an investigation into the fatal shooting. Kent County’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Stephen Cohle, said he completed the autopsy but toxicology tests have not been finished. 

The officer, a seven-year veteran, has not yet been identified. He is on paid leave during the investigation, officials said. 

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Patrick Lyoya, 26, was lying face down when he was fatally shot in the back of the head by a white police officer outside a house in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on April 4

Michigan police released footage of the shooting, and the events leading up to it, including the traffic stop that led to a brief foot chase and struggle over the cop's Taser

Michigan police released footage of the shooting, and the events leading up to it, including the traffic stop that led to a brief foot chase and struggle over the cop’s Taser

Citing a need for transparency, the city’s new police chief, Eric Winstrom, released four videos Wednesday, including critical footage of the shooting recorded by a passenger in Lyoya’s car on that rainy morning. 

‘I view it as a tragedy. … It was a progression of sadness for me,’ said Winstrom, a former high-ranking Chicago police commander who became Grand Rapids chief in March. The city of about 200,000 people is about 150 miles (240 kilometers) northwest of Detroit. 

Video shows Lyoya running from the officer who stopped him for driving with a license plate that didn’t belong to the vehicle. They struggled in front of several homes while Lyoya’s passenger got out and watched.  

The white officer repeatedly ordered Lyoya to ‘let go’ of his Taser, at one point demanding: ‘Drop the Taser!’ 

Winstrom said the fight over the Taser lasted about 90 seconds. In the final moments, the officer was on top of Lyoya, kneeling on his back at times to subdue him. 

‘From my view of the video, Taser was deployed twice. Taser did not make contact,’ Winstrom told reporters. ‘And Mr. Lyoya was shot in the head. However, that’s the only information that I have.’ 

Video shows Lyoya, a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the officer struggle over the cop's Taser shortly before Lyoya was shot dead

Video shows Lyoya, a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the officer struggle over the cop’s Taser shortly before Lyoya was shot dead

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Lyoya is seen on video on the ground during a scuffle with a Michigan cop just before he’s shot

The traffic stop was tense from the start. 

Video shows Lyoya, a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, getting out of the car before the officer approached. He ordered Lyoya to get back in the vehicle but the man declined. 

The officer asked him if he spoke English and demanded his driver’s license. The foot chase began soon after, the video shows.

Winstrom has not yet identified the officer. 

‘Me being from Chicago for the last 20 years, I’ve handled many police shootings myself, so I do have a lot of experience in this,’ the chief said. ‘I was hoping to never have to utilize that experience here.’

Video was collected from Lyoya’s passenger, the officer’s body-worn camera, the officer’s patrol car and a doorbell camera. 

Prosecutor Chris Becker, who will decide whether any charges are warranted, objected to the release but said Winstrom could act on his own. But Becker said the public shouldn’t expect a quick decision.

‘While the videos released today are an important piece of evidence, they are not all of the evidence,’ he said. 

City Manager Mark Washington warned that the videos would lead to ‘expressions of shock, of anger and of pain.’ Some downtown businesses boarded up storefronts, and concrete barricades surrounded police headquarters.

Lyoya had two young daughters and five siblings, said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who spoke to his family.

‘He arrived in the United States as a refugee with his family fleeing violence. He had his whole life ahead of him,’ Whitmer, a Democrat, said. 

Lyoya’s family moved from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the U.S in 2014, have been working closely with their representative, Pastor Israel Siku, who also serves as their interpreter.

He told CNN he was with Lyoya’s father when they reviewed the video of the shooting.

Siku described the father’s reaction to seeing the video: ‘He melt(ed) down, he didn’t have anything to say. He almost passed out.’ 

Siku told a church full of people on Sunday, ‘I saw the video, I could not sleep.’

‘The boy was on the floor, the cop as he lays on him, pulls up the gun and shoots him in the head and back up. Patrick did not move,’ he added.    

More than 100 people marched to Grand Rapids City Hall before a City Commission meeting Tuesday night, chanting 'Black lives matter' and 'No justice, no peace.'

More than 100 people marched to Grand Rapids City Hall before a City Commission meeting Tuesday night, chanting ‘Black lives matter’ and ‘No justice, no peace.’

The group demanded that officials make public the name of the officer in the shooting

The group demanded that officials make public the name of the officer in the shooting

More than 100 people marched to Grand Rapids City Hall before a City Commission meeting Tuesday night, chanting ‘Black lives matter’ and ‘No justice, no peace.’ 

On Wednesday, several hundred protesters gathered outside the Grand Rapids Police Department following the release of the videos with some cursing and shouting from behind barricades. 

The group demanded that officials make public the name of the officer in the shooting. 

Some businesses cut their hours short Wednesday, closing early. Some boarded up windows. But the demonstration remained non-violent with protesters demanding justice for Lyoya and other Black lives lost in shootings involving police.

Winstrom last week said he met Lyoya’s father, Peter Lyoya, and that they both cried.

‘I get it as a father. … It’s just heart-wrenching,’ the chief told WOOD-TV.

As in many U.S. cities, Grand Rapids police have been occasionally criticized over the use of force, particularly against Black people, who make up 18 percent of the population.

In November, the Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments in a lawsuit over the practice of photographing and fingerprinting people who were never charged with a crime. Grand Rapids said the policy changed in 2015.

A downtown street has been designated Breonna Taylor Way, named for the Black woman and Grand Rapids native who was killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky, during a botched drug raid in 2020.



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