The police officer who shot and killed Patrick Lyoya — a Michigan Black man who was pulled over for a traffic stop in early April — was charged with second-degree murder on Thursday.
Officer Christopher Schurr, who was on paid leave during the investigation, was seen shooting and killing Lyoya after struggling to detain him due to “an improper Michigan registration.” A video shows the officer kneeling on Lyoya’s body before shooting him.
“Taking a look at everything that I reviewed in this case, I believe there is a sufficient basis to proceed on a single count of second-degree murder, and that charge has been filed with the courts as of today,” Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker told reporters during a news conference Thursday.
“I hope it sends [the message] that we take these cases seriously,” he added. “Everybody thinks the prosecutors are essentially an arm or just a branch of police, and we’re not. We are our own entity.”
The former officer is set to be arraigned on Friday. Lyoya was an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the father of two children.
“Patrick Lyoya immigrated to the United States from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to pursue the American dream and provide a better and safer life for himself and his family,” Ben Crump, a lawyer for the family, said in a statement to New York Times when the videos were released. “Instead, what found him was a fatal bullet to the back of the head, delivered by an officer of the Grand Rapids Police Department.”
During a press conference 10 days after the shooting, Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom showed the video of Lyoya getting pulled over in a residential neighborhood. After getting out of the car and having a short exchange with Schurr, Lyoya attempted to run, reports the Times. The video then showed the officer tackling Lyoya to the ground and telling him to “stop resisting.” After more struggle and an attempt to tase Lyoya, the man ended up face down on the ground when the fatal shot was heard. (Schurr’s bodycam footage was deactivated during the incident, and additional footage was captured on cellphone and doorbell cameras.)
After the shooting, city officials shared that Officer Schurr had been commended by the department many times, and cited for two minor issues, per the Times.