By: Karie Herringa
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WXMI) — Video footage released by the Grand Rapids Police Department shows an officer shooting Patrick Lyoya in the head.
GRPD said the deadly shooting happened on Monday, April 4, after what police described as a “lengthy struggle.”
After a struggle over the officer’s taser that lasted approximately 90 seconds, the officer shot Lyoya once in the back of the head.
Cell phone footage from a witness shows the officer shooting Lyoya in the back of the head after telling him to let go of the taser.
Dashcam footage shows the officer walk up to Lyoya and tell him to stay in the car. The two appear to talk for a few minutes before Lyoya starts to walk away. The officer grabs his wrist and Lyoya pulls his arm and tries to run.
The officer tackles Lyoya and a struggle ensues. Lyoya and the officer move out of the view of the camera before the shooting happens.
Video captured by a neighbor’s security camera shows the entire encounter between Patrick Lyoya and the officer.
In the bodycam video, you can hear the officer ask Lyoya if he has a license. Lyoya told the officer he did and that it was in the car. Bodycam footage shows the officer use a taser on Lyoya. Lyoya appears to grab the taser and the officer tells him to let go of it. The bodycam footage also does not show the deadly shooting.
Chief Winstrom called the camera angle from the passenger in the car key to the decision to release the video of Patrick’s death.
He said it gave some of the best context to the interaction between Patrick and the Grand Rapids police officer.
Here’s what you can see in the videos:
In the videos, you can see it all starts with the officer pulling Patrick over for an alleged issue with his car’s registration tabs.
Patrick stops and gets out of the car. He appears confused and ask the officer why he was being stopped.
The officer orders him to get back inside, and then explains the issue with his tabs.
The officer then asks for his license and if he speaks English. Patrick tells the officer yes then opens up his car door.
He and the officer stand around for a minute or two before Patrick takes a few steps to the side.
The officer from there tries to stop him from doing so. The officer grabs his wrist and Patrick pulls his arm and tries to run.
Patrick then runs around the car with the officer chasing him before he is tackled to the ground.
You can then see the officer on top of Patrick. He tries to handcuff him but doesn’t.
Patrick and the officer stand back up and you can hear the officer yell at Patrick to stop resisting multiple times.
He replies and says, “OK, OK.”
But then for some reason, the officer pulls out his taser and tries to tase Patrick at least twice.
In the video from the bodycam, you can see Patrick trying to stop the taser.
From there he’s brought back down to the ground by the officer.
While on top of him, the officer pulls out his gun and shoots Patrick in the back of the head as he is face down.
According to Chief Winstrom, as far as he knows, the officer’s taser and gun were the only two weapons recovered from the scene.
GRPD Chief Eric Winstrom says the officer will not be named at this time.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump released a statement after the videos were released. Crump says the Lyoya family will join him on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. for a press conference.
“Patrick Lyoya immigrated to the United States from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to pursue the American Dream and provide a better and safer life for himself and his family. Instead, what found him was a fatal bullet to the back of the head, delivered by an officer of the Grand Rapids Police Department. 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. 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.
“We demand that the officer who killed Patrick not only be terminated for his use of excessive and fatal force, but be arrested and prosecuted for the violent killing of Patrick Lyoya.”
After the release of the videos, the Kent County prosecutor released the following statement:
As I have said in a previous statement, I have one goal – the pursuit of truth – and I am committed to that. We must follow legal and ethical guidelines to ensure the integrity of this process. We cannot do anything until the investigation is complete, and we have all the information we need to make an informed decision. This will take time and I once again ask for the community’s patience.
Following the Grand Rapids Police Department’s release of video related to the April 4 officer-involved shooting of Mr. Patrick Lyoya, I once again ask the community for patience in this matter. The Michigan State Police independent investigation into the incident is not complete. This is an extremely critical incident, and one that everyone involved in the investigation is taking very seriously. The Michigan State Police are doing everything they can to complete the investigation in a timely manner, however it takes time to carefully gather the evidence. We do not have all of the evidence for review. I don’t have an opportunity to review a case until I have all the evidence.
To provide context, the Kent County Sheriff’s Department is investigating an incident from March 31, 2022, where a homeowner reportedly shot and killed an intruder. That incident occurred days before this one, yet we have not received the reports from that investigation. I offer this incident to demonstrate, a thorough investigations take time, we are asking that the appropriate time be given here.
It is important to note, while the videos released today are an important piece of evidence, they are not all of the evidence. Our office has never made, and will not make, a decision based on partial evidence. By law, we are required to review all available evidence before we consider whether charges should be filed, and if so, what appropriate charges should be. This careful consideration of all evidence is a very important step in our criminal justice system.
Once the Michigan State Police turn over the evidence to our office, we will begin a thorough review. That process will include review of all witness statements and all video that pertains to this incident, including body-worn camera video, in-car video, and any home video that may be available. In addition, as in any case involving a death, we will review the autopsy and toxicology reports, radio traffic, and reports from the crime scene.
According to the Grand Rapids Police Department, Patrick was pulled over near the intersection of Nelson and Griggs on Monday morning. Lyoya was the driver of the vehicle and a passenger was also in the vehicle at the time.
They said that when he got out of the car, he began to run away. A “lengthy struggle ensued” before he was shot and killed.
Lyoya’s family has disputed this account. 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. Family of Lyoya saw the dash camera and body camera video of the incident prior to the public release and has stated it shows Patrick 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.”
Over the weekend, civil rights attorney Ben Crump called for video footage of Lyoya’s death to be released at a rally in Grand Rapids over the weekend.
Crump has represented the families of George Floyd, Jacob Blake, and Grand Rapids native Breonna Taylor.
Lyoya’s family has also asked for the full, unedited video of the shooting to be released to the public as well. His father is asking for peace and does not want to see any violence at protests and demonstrations.
“I cannot wish another parent like me, White or Black, to go through the situation I went through to lose my son,” Lyoya said. “And I want the entire world to know and to see the way that my son was killed and why he was killed.”
26-year-old Patrick Lyoya leaves behind two children, a two-year-old and a three-month-old.
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 13, 2022 by WXMI in Grand Rapids, Michigan, an E.W. Scripps Company.