GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WXMI) — The community is preparing for the release of the video showing the deadly police shooting of Patrick Lyoya.
The Grand Rapids Police Department plans to release it during a news conference scheduled for 3 p.m. ET Wednesday.
Prior to the videos being shown, Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom says he will provide additional context to the footage, provide an update and explain the next steps in the investigative process.
After the news conference, GRPD will provide a public link with video of the shooting from nine different sources.
“Because of the sensitive and graphic content of the video, the footage will stream as part of a presentation on the City’s YouTube channel with age restrictions in place. The video contains strong language as well as graphic images resulting in the loss of life. Viewer discretion is advised. Following the press conference, we will provide a public link with the nine source videos that was used to compile the presentation video,” GRPD Chief Eric Winstrom said in a statement released Tuesday.
GRPD wanted to note that the video will be unedited, but some video images “may have been redacted/blurred to ensure privacy.” No audio from the video will be edited.
City Manager Mark Washington told city commissioners last week there is footage from the officer’s body camera, cruiser’s dash camera, witness cell phone, and a ring doorbell.
Lyoya died Monday, April 4 following a traffic stop near the intersection of Griggs and Nelson on the city’s southeast side. Lyoya was the driver of the vehicle. A passenger was also in the vehicle at the time.
Police say the driver exited the vehicle and tried to run away. After a short chase, a “lengthy struggle ensued” between the officer and the suspect. That’s when the officer shot the man, killing him. Lyoya’s family has stated they believe it wasn’t a traffic stop at all and that he was outside of the vehicle when the officer made contact.
The officer was taken to the hospital as a precaution, but has been released.
GRPD says it’s not clear why the officer initiated the traffic stop but the vehicle had a plate on it that did not belong to it.
Michigan State Police are handling the investigation, which is standard practice in cases like this.
GRPD says the officer has been with the department since 2015 and was working alone at the time of the shooting. The department has not released the officer’s name.
Grand Rapids police say the officer was wearing a body camera. It fell off during the struggle, but GRPD says the camera was still on at the scene and activated.
Family of Lyoya has seen the dash camera and body camera video of the incident. They dispute the account of what happened. They say the video shows Lyoya being shot in the back of the head.
“To see that the police officer hold my son and kill him like an animal,” Peter Mashingo Lyoya, Patrick’s father, said. “When he got my son he put him on the ground and his hand was behind his back. From that moment he took the gun and he shoot him in the back of the head.”
Israel Siku, the family’s interpreter who also saw the video, corroborated his account. WXMI has not seen the video.
26-year-old Patrick Lyoya leaves behind two children, a two-year-old and a three-month-old.
His family, who live in Lansing, are part of a tight knit West Michigan Congolese community of 700.
“I would like to see him handicap than dead. They could shoot him in the leg. They can shoot him in the back, maybe they could give a chance to call his father, but shoot him on the back of the head? That is inexcusable. You cannot explain that.’ To him, it is an execution style. That is it,” Patrick Lyoya’s father said through an interpreter.
“He wants justice. He wants the officer to be arrested. His wants the officer to be persecuted. He wants the officer to be fired. He wants justice for his son,” said Israel Siku, the family’s interpreter.
The family has retained nationally-known attorney Ben Crump who spoke to a crowd in Grand Rapids on Sunday.
On the day of the killing, WXMI spoke to a witness of the incident who wished to remain anonymous.
“It was a wrestling match. If you were to watch a two-minute wrestling match. It just happened to be in my front yard,” the witness said.
The witness says the police officer was on top of the man throughout most of the struggle.
“I was trying to deescalate the situation. I was telling him, stay down man. Just please stay down,” said the witness.
The witness, a black man, says he feared for the man in the struggle. He also said he did not see the man with a weapon.
“I feel if he had a weapon on him, he would have used it. In that same breath, the police officer did five or six steps to try to deescalate the situation,” the witness said.
The witness says the officer also tried to use non-lethal force.
“The taser was used. The taser didn’t work,” the witness said.
Saying in a matter of mere moments, he witnessed the worst thing he could ever imagine.
“It just went from two to ten. Then pop. I could tell the officer was shocked.”
As the Grand Rapids community anticipates the release of videos showing the deadly shooting of Patrick Lyoya by a police officer, barriers and fencing is being put in place surrounding the police department.
“The barricades are a precaution,” they toldWXMI. “In order for the police department to maintain the safety of the public throughout the city, the building, which also houses the Grand Rapids 911 dispatch center operations, must be secure.”
There have already been a number of demonstrations protesting the shooting of Lyoya. All have remained peaceful. There are more demonstrations planned this week.
This story was originally published April 12 by WXMI in Grand Rapids, Michigan, an E.W. Scripps Company.