GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Patrick Lyoya was shot and killed by a City of Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) officer on April 4. Now, over a week after the shooting the police have released several video sources of the shooting.
On the day of the shooting, the Michigan State Police (MSP) started an investigation into the incident. And since that investigation began, GRPD Chief Eric Winstrom vowed to release the video footage of the incident to the public.
Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker requested the police not release any evidence until the investigation is complete, but GRPD ended up releasing the video.
The state police have not yet announced a date when they'll give their findings to the prosecutor's office.
The community has rallied in support of Lyoya's family and protested downtown before a Grand Rapids to a City Commission meeting on Tuesday.
Kent County Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Stephen D. Cohle, released a statement regarding Patrick Lyoya's autopsy on Wednesday. In the statement, Dr. Cohle says that he completed the autopsy of Mr. Lyoya on April 4, but toxicology and tissue test results are pending.
"The full autopsy report will be completed as soon as the toxicology and tissue test results are received, but the report will not be publicly available until the Michigan State Police concludes its investigation," said Dr. Cohle.
Timeline of events since the GRPD shooting of Patrick Lyoya on April 4
What's next in the investigation of the death of Patrick Lyoya?
After the release of the video related to the incident, the Kent County Prosecuting Attorney's Office said that the MSP is still conducting its independent investigation.
The Kent County Prosecuting Attorney's Office will not be able to review the case until all of the evidence provided by MSP is released.
"It is important to note, while the videos released today are an important piece of evidence, they are not all of the evidence. Our office has never made, and will not make, a decision based on partial evidence. By law, we are required to review all available evidence before we consider whether charges should be filed, and if so, what appropriate charges should be. This careful consideration of all evidence is a very important step in our criminal justice system," said the Kent County Prosecuting Attorney's Office in a statement on Wednesday.
"Once the Michigan State Police turn over the evidence to our office, we will begin a thorough review. That process will include review of all witness statements and all video that pertains to this incident, including bodyworn camera video, in-car video, and any home video that may be available. In addition, as in any case involving a death, we will review the autopsy and toxicology reports, radio traffic, and reports from the crime scene."
Chief Winstrom said that he will not be naming the officer involved in the shooting, as they do not name suspects in criminal investigations until they are charged with a crime. He added that MSP is currently investigating the incident and once that investigation is complete, there will be more answers to questions involving the shooting.
When asked, "Are the actions taken by this officer in accordance with Grand Rapids use of force policy?" Chief Winstrom said that he cannot come to that conclusion yet because he does not have access to the investigation by MSP. Winstrom added that once the investigation is complete and handed over to his agency, they will make conclusions on policy and criminal law.
Chief Winstrom commented on the investigation by MSP, saying that they will try to determine if the use of deadly force was necessary because the officer was at risk of death or great bodily harm.
Regarding the officer facing disciplinary action for the shooting, Chief Winstrom says that he cannot draw a conclusion until he has MSP's investigation results.
The officer is currently on paid leave, stripped of his police powers, pending the outcome of this investigation.
MSP is expected to release their investigation results by the end of the week, but no exact date has been announced.
Chief Winstrom noted that renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump has been retained by the Lyoya family and he would not be surprised if they file a civil lawsuit.
The Grand Rapids Police Department will be reviewing its policies and Chief Winstrom said that there is talk about having public discussions about what the department can do better.
Attorney Ben Crump responded to the release of the videos on Wednesday saying he and the Lyoya family will hold a news conference on Thursday, April 14 at 1:30 p.m.
Attorney Crump released the following statement:
"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. Instead, what found him was a fatal bullet to the back of the head, delivered by an officer of the Grand Rapids Police Department. 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. It should be noted that Patrick never used violence against this officer even though the officer used violence against him in several instances for what was a misdemeanor traffic stop.
"We demand that the officer who killed Patrick not only be terminated for his use of excessive and fatal force, but be arrested and prosecuted for the violent killing of Patrick Lyoya."
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