Patrick Lyoya killed by Officer Christopher Schurr, Grand Rapids police chief announces

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Michigan police have identified the officer who killed Congolese refugee Patrick Lyoya in a shooting that has sparked national outrage and weeks of protests.

Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom appointed officer Christopher Schurr on Monday, three weeks after the traffic stop that ended with the death of 26-year-old Lyoya. He said Schurr, a seven-year veteran of the agency, remains on paid leave while Michigan State Police investigate the incident on April 4, in which Schurr shot Lyoya in the back of the head.

The Grand Rapids Police Department had previously refused to identify the officer, citing a long-standing practice of withholding the identities of persons who have not been arrested or charged with a crime. Lyoya’s family, along with activists and leaders of the black community, demanded the name.

“Every time a young black man or woman is arrested in this city, you put their name in the news. Every time we are suspected of something, you put our name out there,” Pastor Al Sharpton said during Lyoya’s funeral Friday. to keep the name of a man who killed this man? We want his name! “

The shooting was captured in videos released by police earlier this month. The footage showed Schurr stopping Lyoya on a residential road and telling him that his plates did not match his car. Lyoya ran into a nearby yard and Schurr chased after him. In the fight that followed, Lyoya seemed to grab Schurrs Taser. Schurr was on top of Lyoya, who was facing the ground when he fired a shot in the back of the head.

Lyoya’s father, Peter, said he was “killed like an animal”.

Winstrom announced in a press release on Monday that he had decided to identify Schurr “for reasons of transparency, to reduce ongoing speculation and to avoid further confusion.” He noted that the name was already circulating online.

Police have not released other details about Schurr.

Schurr graduated in 2014 from Siena Heights University, a private Catholic school in Adrian, Mich., According to an article in an alumni online magazine that noted his oath in the Grand Rapids Police Department.

Schurr graduated from Byron Center High School and majored in criminal law and was a record-breaking pole vaulter in college, the Grand Rapids Press reported in 2014. The article noted that he was planning to marry his high school girlfriend in Kenya, where the two had previously been on a mission trip. He told the newspaper that they wanted to return for another mission trip but could not afford it and the wedding, so they decided to combine the two.

“We want to make a wedding in their style,” he said. “I already have an African outfit and my fiancé will choose some fabric and she will make a Kenyan style dress.”

Lyoya’s parents have called for Schurr to be fired and prosecuted. Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker will review the Michigan State Police investigation once it is completed to determine if the charges are justified.

Friend Johnson, one of the attorneys representing the Lyoya family, criticized the Grand Rapids Police Department’s delay in identifying Schurr.

“A deliberate three-week delay in releasing the name of the officer involved, which they clearly knew at the time of the shooting, is offensive and the exact opposite of being ‘transparent,'” he said in a statement to the Detroit Free Press. “Again, we see the Grand Rapids Police Department taking care of its own at the expense of the family’s mental health and well-being.”

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