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Michigan authorities have released video from different vantage points of a tragic officer-involved shooting in the city of Grand Rapids.
What started out as a routine traffic stop for mismatched plates resulted in the fatal shooting of motorist Patrick Lyoya, an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, after an alleged struggle over a Taser.
The unidentified police officer, a seven-year member of the Grand Rapids PD, is on administrative leave while the probe by the Michigan State Police into the April 4 incident is pending. Investigators will turn their findings over to Kent County prosecutors who will determine if any charges are appropriate.
In the bodycam portion of the video, Lyoya , 26, gets out of the car even though the officer tells him to stay in the vehicle. After explaining the purpose of the stop and confirming that the motorist speaks English, the officer asks for the motorist’s driver’s license. That’s when the situation appeared to get out of hand.
Lyoya seemed to ask a passenger to get his license and appeared to try to walk away. That’s when the two men started grappling. The officer tackled the motorist after a brief foot chase and they struggled on the ground in front of a residence, with the officer repeatedly shouting “stop.”
You can review the footage embedded below (which contains a warning for graphic content) and form your own conclusions:
During the altercation, as alluded to above, the officer allegedly tried to deploy a Taser, CBS News reported.
“At some point, although it is not clear exactly when due to the close proximity of the struggle and poor camera quality from the surveillance video across the street, the officer takes out his Taser. He can be heard firing it twice, but, according to Cedar Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom, the Taser missed Lyoya both times,” the outlet reported, incorrectly naming Winstrom who is Grand Rapids police chief.
“The two continue to struggle and at certain moments it appears that both men have their hands on the weapon. The two men fall to the ground again as the officer repeatedly tells Lyoya to let go of the Taser. At one point, the passenger can be heard saying that Lyoya isn’t touching the Taser,” according to CBS News.
“With Lyoya face down on the ground, the officer manages to get on top of him. The officer, still telling Lyoya to let go of the Taser, then takes out his gun and shoots Lyoya in the head.”
Backup officers subsequently arrived on the scene.
According to Chief Winstrom, the officer’s bodycam was deactivated at one point during the fray because the record button was inadvertently pressed three times.
Details are still unfolding in this incident. The medical examiner has completed an autopsy; toxicology tests are forthcoming.
The Loyoya family has retained prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who also represented the families of George Floyd and Jacob Blake, among others.
‘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,” Crump said, according to the Associated Press.
The shooting prompted protests outside the Grand Rapids city hall and police station.
HAPPENING NOW: Hundreds gather outside the Grand Rapids Police Department to protest the shooting of 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya. Police released videos of the deadly police shooting earlier today. @wwmtnews pic.twitter.com/tU0Drx3NJo
— Trisha McCauley (@TrishaWWMT) April 13, 2022
“I view it as a tragedy….It was a progression of sadness for me,” Winstrom added.
Prosecutor Chris Becker seemed to imply that there should be no rush to judgment. “While the videos released today are an important piece of evidence, they are not all of the evidence,” he noted.
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