Protests Erupt Following The Release Of Videos Capturing An Officer Killing Patrick Lyoya
On April 13, protesters took the streets of Grand Rapids, MI after the police released videos showing the moments that led to the shooting death of Patrick Lyoya, a Black man, by a police officer.
Hundreds of protesters gathered in Rosa Parks Circle at around 5 p.m., according to WOOD-TV. They chanted Lyoya’s name and held signs reading “no justice, no peace, no racist police” and “arrest violent cops.” Protesters held a moment of silence for Lyoya at 6 p.m. before posting up in front of the Grand Rapids Police Department headquarters. Protesters then gathered at Veterans Memorial Park, where the demonstration came to an end at around 9:30 p.m., according to WOOD-TV.
Lyoya’s family asked people not to protest, according to the news channel. “No protests at this time. We don’t want violence out there. We want to avoid any violence,” they wrote in a statement.
The protests were held in reaction to four videos released by the police department during a press conference. One came from a dashboard camera, another from a doorbell camera, one from a body camera and one from a cell phone. The police said it has nine videos in total, according to The Hill.
Lyoya was shot and killed by a police officer on April 4. In the moments before he was shot, Lyoya had been stopped by an officer and had stepped outside of his car. The officer said he stopped him because his license plate did not match his car, as reported by The Hill. It remains unclear what prompted the officer to run Lyoya’s plate.
The police officer asked Lyoya for his license. The man then asked someone in the passenger seat to retrieve it from the car. When the person in the passenger seat couldn’t find the license, Lyoya tried to go up to them. This is when the police officer told him to stop and grabbed him, resulting in a struggle between the two men, reports CBS. Lloya started running before the officer tackled him on a nearby lawn. The officer took out his Taser and while both men were struggling, he repeatedly told Lyoya to let go of the Taser. The passenger can be heard saying in the video that Lyoya isn’t touching the Taser, according to CBS. The police officer then got on top of Lyoya and shot him in the head.
“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,” said Ben Crump, the attorney representing Lloya’s family, according to CBS.
Cedar Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom said in a press conference that the officer is currently on paid leave while the Michigan State Police investigates the shooting. Winstrom added that the officer would not be identified unless he was charged with a crime, reports CBS. “I view it as a tragedy,” he said of the shooting. He also said that the police officer’s body camera had been deactivated, as the power button had been pressed down during the struggle between Lyoya and the officer.