A former Michigan police officer who shot a Black motorist in the back of the head will stand trial for second-degree murder, a judge said Monday.
Judge Nicholas Ayoub announced his decision after hearing testimony last week about the death in April of Patrick Lyoya in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
A jury will decide whether Christopher Schurr ‘s use of deadly force was necessary “after a full and fair trial,” Ayoub said.
Lyoya, 26, briefly ran from a traffic stop then grappled with Schurr across a front lawn before the white officer shot him at point-blank range. The final moment was recorded on video by a man who was a passenger in the car with Lyoya.
Schurr repeatedly told Lyoya to take his hands off the officer’s Taser, according to video. The refugee from Congo was on the ground when he was killed.
Ayoub only had to find probable cause to send the case to the Kent County trial court, a low standard of evidence at this stage under Michigan law.
Schurr’s attorney argued Friday that the officer was defending himself while Lyoya wouldn’t give up. A forensic video analyst, Robert McFarlane, testified that Lyoya failed to comply with 20 commands.
“He pushed. He shoved, popped his arms,” lawyer Matt Borgula said.
Schurr, an officer for seven years, was fired in June after being charged with murder.