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Activists Call for Justice in the Police Shooting Death of Patrick Lyoya Following the Release of Police Footage

Hundreds of people gathered outside of the Grand Rapids Police Department on Wednesday calling for justice in the shooting death of Patrick Lyoya, the 26-year-old father of two who was killed by a police officer during a traffic stop on April 4.

Police have not said why Lyoya was pulled over, though there were indications his license plate may not have been registered to the vehicle he was diving. After pulling him over, the officer — who has not yet been named by police — pins Lyoya to the ground and over the course of 90 seconds, Lyoya appears to struggle and attempt to flee, according to footage. At one point, he tries to block the officer’s Taser weapon, though it’s unclear whether or not he was hit. Police said that the officer’s body camera “deactivated” during the struggle, but security camera footage and a bystander’s cellphone video show the officer then pinning Lyoya facedown on the ground and fatally shooting him in the back of the head.

During a press conference, Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom pledged to be transparent in the ongoing investigation. “I thank the public for their patience and understanding while waiting for the release of the video,” Winstrom said. “I intend to continue to be as forthright and transparent as possible during the ongoing Michigan State Police investigation, while maintaining my duty to protect the integrity of that investigation in the interests of justice and accountability.”

Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump has joined Grand Rapids calls for justice and accountability. “This is about a broken-hearted family,” Crump said, standing with members of Lyoya’s family. “A broken-hearted Black family, who yet again has lost a loved one unjustly at the hands of the individual who was supposed to protect her son.”

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