A Grand Rapids police officer killed Patrick Lyoya last week on April 4. The 26-year-old’s family is now urging authorities to release video footage of the tragic incident.
Peter Lyoya, Patrick’s father, spoke to the outlet M-Live via his interpreter Israel Siku.
“I don’t know what to do because I am confused. I want justice for Patrick,” the elder Lyoya said. “I want people to see the way my son was killed. I want the entire world to see how my son was executed.”
The Lyoya family moved from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the United States seven years ago in search of a better life.
M-Live reported Michigan State Police showed Patrick’s father a brief clip of the fatal shooting. The grieving father claimed that the officer shot Lyoya in the back of the head as he lay on the ground face down. (Read the full article here).
Community leaders held a public forum supporting Patrick’s family in demanding accountability Sunday afternoon. Several local officials appeared at the event, including the city manager Mark Washington, Brandon Davis of the Grand Rapids Office of Oversight and Accountability, and Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. Officials assured the family and others in attendance that transparency and accountability would be prioritized.
Hundreds of supporters joined the Lyoya family as they marched in southeast Grand Rapids, urging officials to release bodycam and dashcam footage of the shooting to the public. The march came in response to Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker, who announced that he would not release video footage of the fatal exchange until after the investigation was complete.
According to KTVU, marchers reportedly shouted, “show the video!” and “we want the world to know” as they rallied in support of the family. Following the protest, attendees organized an emotional candlelight vigil for Patrick at the Center for Community Transformation.
The group Together We Are Safe: Bridging the Gap launched a letter-writing campaign and shared the family’s demands via an Action Network site. In addition to releasing the footage, the group requested that translation services are provided in any meeting with Patrick’s family, and officials allow for an external autopsy. As of Sunday evening, 98,583 letters had been submitted.
An unidentified Grand Rapids police officer pulled Lyoya over to conduct a traffic stop on April 4 around 8 a.m., after officials claimed the young man was driving a vehicle with an unregistered license plate. According to M-Live, the Grand Rapids Police Department placed the officer on administrative leave pending the internal investigation.
Kent County Commissioner Robert Womack previously condemned the shooting on Facebook, calling it “an execution.”
“Gun violence by my community or by the police will not be tolerated. This man was murdered in a way that I cannot accept,” he added.
Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom said that the department planned to release the video on April 15.
“Since this tragic event occurred on Monday morning and in the hours and days that followed, I have been consistent in my commitment to transparency,” Winstrom said in a statement, according to The Detroit News. “I have publicly stated my intention to release the video next week and I intend to keep that promise. I have also committed to protecting the integrity of the investigation in the interests of justice and accountability.”
Civil Rights attorney Ben Crump, who joined Sunday’s emotional march in Grand Rapids, will be representing the family.
“Every Black family lives in fear that a routine traffic stop will turn deadly,” he posted in a statement on Twitter. “Patrick’s fate is the nightmare we live with every day.”
A video from Fox 17 of Sunday’s community event can be viewed below:
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