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Kent County Prosecutor to seek expert help in analyzing Patrick Lyoya case

Kent County Prosecutor Christopher Becker acknowledges that the investigation is moving slower than most would like, but he continues to ask for patience.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Kent County Prosecutor, tasked with analyzing and determining the next steps regarding Grand Rapids Police Officer Christopher Schurr's killing of Patrick Lyoya, says he is asking for additional expert guidance to assist him. 

Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker says that the Michigan State Police are likely to complete their investigative report by the end of the week, or potentially next week.

"After receiving the partial investigative report from the MSP on April 28, 2022, I have been in regular contact with their investigators, and I have provided follow-up questions regarding the initial documentation," Becker said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

"However, while reviewing the material that has been provided thus far, I determined that additional expert guidance – beyond the scope of the MSP – is needed in order for me to make a fully informed decision. I have begun to seek this expert guidance."

Becker asked for patience from the public: 

"I recognize the investigation appears to be moving painstakingly slowly. However, as in all cases that come before this office, it is imperative that I review all the facts and evidence before making a charging decision. In this situation, my decision can only be made by taking the time to gather all the available information – both from the MSP and from state and national experts.

Because of the extraordinary interest in this case, I felt it was important to inform the public that it will take additional time for a final decision. While I may receive the complete MSP investigation soon, it does not mean my decision is imminent.

I have heard from many members of the public, and I am keenly aware of the impact this situation is having on our community. I thank you for your understanding in this matter, and I ask for your continued patience."

The prosecutor declined to interview or discuss the case further. 

MSP is still awaiting a manufacturer's report on Officer Christopher Schurr's body camera and taser that were used during the incident on April 4. 

Detectives sent over their partial findings to the Kent County Prosecutor's Office on April 28.

Since then, 13 ON YOUR SIDE has received multiple documents through a Freedom of Information Act request, including nearly an hour of audio recordings between police and first responders, as well as reports filed about the Grand Rapids Police Department officer-involved shooting on April 4.

Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker had previously stated that he would not make a final decision on the case until receiving all of the evidence.

GRPD has launched an Internal Affairs investigation to determine whether all applicable departmental policies were followed.  

GRPD officer Christopher Schurr remains on paid leave, stripped of his police powers pending the outcome of this investigation.

The union that represents police officers in Grand Rapids said they're backing Officer Schurr.

Credit: AP
Grand Rapids Police Officer Christopher Schurr stops to talk with a resident, Wednesday, August 12, 2015, in Grand Rapids, Mich. Grand Rapids police have identified Schurr as the officer who killed Patrick Lyoya three weeks ago. Lyoya was a Black man and native of Congo who was fatally shot in the back of the head after a struggle with the officer. Police Chief Eric Winstrom had declined to name the officer but changed course Monday, April 25, 2022. He says he's doing it in the "interest of transparency" and to reduce speculation. (Emily Rose Bennett/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)

After Lyoya’s death, community members have been gathering to protest the actions of the GRPD officer and to demand justice.  

Authorities are also investigating after some vandals targeted the homes of some city commissioners this week. 

Ben Crump, one of the attorneys representing the Lyoya family, has demanded that the Kent County Prosecutor announce charges against the GRPD officer by May 25.

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