Family seeks charges, officer’s ID in Patrick Lyoya’s death
Patrick Lyoya, 26, is another victim killed at the hands of US police. He was shot in the back of his head as the police officer involved kneeled on his back.
Peter Lyoya left Congo for the United States in 2014 with his six children. However, Lyoya's plans took a turn when his eldest son was fatally shot.
26-year-old Patrick was shot in the head this month following a traffic stop in Grand Rapids. A video released on Wednesday depicts a brief foot chase and the battle over the white officer's taser before the white officer kills Patrick Lyoya in the head with the Black guy pinned to the ground face down.
Patrick, who had two small children of his own, resided in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and visited Lansing on weekends, according to his father, and would spend money on his siblings. “Patrick never had a problem with anybody,” his dad told The Associated Press through an interpreter during an interview at his Lansing apartment.
When Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom released video collected from a passenger in the car Lyoya was driving, the officer's body camera, the officer's patrol car, and a doorbell camera, he highlighted the need for transparency. Winstrom did not name the officer, a seven-year veteran on paid leave, while state police investigate the shooting.
Lawyers for the Lyoya family said the officer should be prosecuted and fired.
“The video shows us that this is as his mother and father have said — an execution. And there is no way to try to spin it or justify,” prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump said as Patrick’s parents cried. “It is an unjustifiable use of deadly force because the police escalated a traffic stop into an execution.”
The Lyoyas also asked for police to release the officer’s name. Patrick’s brothers and sisters want to know who killed him and would like to see his picture so they can know. “This is the person that took our beloved one,” Peter Lyoya said.
Prosecutor Chris Becker, who will decide whether any charges are warranted, said the public should not expect a quick decision.
In the video, Patrick Lyoya was seen running from the officer who stopped him for driving with a license plate that did not belong to the vehicle. They struggled in front of several homes.
Winstrom said the fight over the Taser lasted about 90 seconds. Lyoya's last moment ended with the officer on top, kneeling on his back.
“From my view of the video, Taser was deployed twice. Taser did not make contact,” Winstrom, a former high-ranking Chicago police commander who became Grand Rapids chief in March, told reporters. “And Lyoya was shot in the head. However, that’s the only information that I have.”
Crump said the officer could have waited for backup once Lyoya ran but instead got “violent". He accused him of not following proper training by using the taser while close to Lyoya, saying it was Lyoya’s “natural instinct” to try to stop him from being stunned.
Because the taser was fired twice, it was ineffective without being reloaded, Crump said.
“There was no reason for him to have an intimate fear of the Taser being used against him,” he said of the officer.