DETROIT – Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old Black man, was fatally shot in the back of the head by a Grand Rapids police officer on April 4.
The city’s new police chief, Eric Winstrom, released four videos on Wednesday (April 13), including footage of the shooting that was recorded by a passenger in Lyoya’s car.
WOOD reported that police had shown the footage to Lyoya’s family before releasing it to the public. Lyoya’s family and civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump were in Grand Rapids to address the footage of the fatal shooting.
His family came to the United States from Congo to escape violence. Lyoya’s father said he now fears they came here to die.
Former Detroit police chief Ike McKinnon has spent a lifetime in law enforcement. He walked Local 4 through the actions of that Grand Rapids police officer.
He said the officer’s actions were reasonable up until the point where the officer gets Lyoya on the ground.
“The first question we ask is, were the actions of the officer reasonable? Was this something a reasonable officer would do?” McKinnon said. “He has his left arm on him and he reaches back for his gun with his right arm and he takes it and shoots him in the head. No, no, no. I can’t think of anything. Did the officer fear for his life and safety when the man got out of the car? Did he fear for his life and safety when the man ran around the car? Did he fear, when he was struggling with him, that he fired the taser twice. Well, I guess so. Because he thought he could take him down. But when you get him down and you have your arm around him or on him, your left arm, and you reach back to take your weapon out and shoot him in the head. No, no. There’s something wrong here.”
McKinnon said police training is if the officer fears for his life or safety, or the lives and safety of others nearby, then an officer should pull his weapon. In this case, McKinnon said the officer should have reached for his handcuffs. Not a gun.
“We don’t know the mindset of this officer. What was going through his head at this point. But certainly when you take someone down and you have the opportunity to reach and grab your weapon and then take it around and put it to this person’s head and shoot them. No, there’s something amiss here,” McKinnon said.
McKinnon said it’s perfectly reasonable in a situation like that to back up and wait for fellow officers to arrive, even call EMS. Back up, wait, don’t engage and de-escalated.
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