A Michigan police officer has shot to death, a 26-year-old African immigrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Patrick Lyoya.
While kneeling on Patrick’s body, the officer shot him in the head after pulling him over for a traffic stop. This was shown in a video released by police.
The Grand Rapids police officer killed Patrick Lyoya on the morning of April 4 after what police Chief Eric Winstrom had previously described as a “lengthy struggle.”
According to city policy, Michigan State Police are investigating the shooting, while the officer whose name is yet to be released; has been placed on paid leave although stripped of his police powers pending the outcome of the investigation.
“This is a difficult day,” Winstrom told reporters on Wednesday as he released four videos of the incident, including footage from the officer’s body-worn camera, his car’s dash camera, a home surveillance camera, and a cellphone video. “My heart goes out to the family of Patrick Lyoya.”
According to police reports, the officer initiated the traffic stop that ended Lyoya’s death at about 8:11 a.m. after observing that the car Patrick was driving had “an improper Michigan registration.”
Events leading to the killing of Patrick Lyoya
According to Buzzfeednews, after pulling over the vehicle on the side of a residential street, Lyoya got out; The officer then told Lyoya repeatedly to “stay in the car.”
“Get in the car. Dude, I’m stopping ya,” the officer says, according to the body-worn camera video. “Do you have a license? Do you have a license?”
In the footage, Lyoya looks confused and appears to ask the officer what he did. The officer seems not to understand him and asks, “Do you speak English?” Lyoya responds, “Yes.” The officer then tells him that the license plate “does not belong on this car” and asks him to get his driver’s license.
Lyoya then opens the driver’s side door and briefly talks to an unidentified passenger before shutting the door. He then starts walking in front of the car and the officer follows him saying, “No, no, no. Stop. Stop,” before grabbing Lyoya by his shoulder, the video shows.
Lyoya then pulls away and runs through the street and onto the sidewalk before the officer tackles him to the grass in front of a house, according to the footage. The officer repeatedly yells at Lyoya to “stop” and put his hands behind his back. Lyoya yells “OK” multiple times as the two appear to struggle.
They eventually get to their feet, and the officer tells Lyoya to “stop resisting.” Lyoya is then seen in the body camera footage stepping away as the officer grabs hold of the green sweater he is wearing.
The officer then shows his Taser. Lyoya appears to ask what he is doing and then grabs the Taser. Both fall back to the ground, and the officer tells Lyoya to let go of the Taser.
As the struggle continues, Patrick Lyoya who is a father of two children is seen lying on his stomach with the cop on top of him, as seen in the cellphone video, which was recorded by the passenger of his car.
Lyoya appears to be trying to get up off the ground when the officer removes his gun from its holster and fires one round toward the back of Lyoya’s head.
The family of Patrick Lyoya has likened his killing to an execution, telling reporters ahead of the videos’ release that they want the world to see how he was killed.
“I could not watch that video twice. I cried,” said Israel Siku said, a Swahili interpreter for the family.
Hundreds of people took to the streets to call for justice for Patrick Lyoya Wednesday evening after the videos of his killing were released.