On Wednesday, April 13, videos were released that detailed the death of 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya. On April 4, 2022, a Grand Rapids, Michigan, police officer shot and killed the Congolese refugee. In an emotional press conference held on April 14, Lyoya’s family and community leaders called for the officer to be prosecuted and arrested. They also announced the filing of a civil suit over Lyoya’s death.
Peter Lyoya brought his six children, including Patrick, to the United States in 2014 to flee violence from rebel groups in Congo. Now, he feels like he brought his family to the United States to die.
Grand Rapids News Channel 3 has released a video and timeline of the deadly event. There are four videos in all, one each from a porch camera, a cell phone, the squad car dashcam, and the officer’s body cam. Each video offers a unique perspective of the event.
It began as a routine traffic stop as the license plate did not match the description of the Nissan sedan. At 8:11 AM, the officer stops Lyoya, who exits his vehicle and is instructed to get back in. The officer also asks Lyoya if he has a driver’s license and if he speaks English, to which Lyoya answers “yes.” Lyoya, unsure of what he has done wrong, is asked for his license a second time and told the plate does not match the car he is driving.
At 8:12 AM, Lyoya tells the officer his license is in the car. He walks back to his vehicle, speaks to the passenger, then closes the car door and begins to walk toward the front of his vehicle slowly. The officer says “no” and “stop,” then places his hands on Lyoya’s shoulders and back. Lyoya runs, and the officer tackles him in about ten seconds.
At 8:14, the officer shoots a Taser at Lyoya, who tried to grab the weapon. The officer’s bodycam is accidentally switched off during the struggle, but the car dashcam picks up a single gunshot at 8:15 AM. With Lyoya on the ground, being knelt on, the officer shot and killed him with one bullet to the back of the head.
Represented by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who also represented the families of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, the Lyoya family is demanding the officer’s identity be released and that he be prosecuted. Patrick Lyoya’s death was deemed an execution, and Crump described the incident as an escalated situation that could have easily been controlled. The video also depicts the officer kicking Lyoya, and Crump has deemed this “unjustifiable deadly force.”
The officer who shot Patrick Lyoya is a seven-year veteran and is currently on paid administrative leave. The state police office is investigating the shooting, which will be handed to the Kent County Prosecutor’s office.