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Personnel record: Officer who killed Lyoya had awards, complaints in file

13 ON YOUR SIDE received the officer personnel record, which shows several instances of awards and praise throughout his career with the Grand Rapids Police Dept.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — We are getting a firsthand look at the personnel record for Grand Rapids Police Officer Christopher Schurr after 13 ON YOUR SIDE submitted a Freedom of Information Request.

The Grand Rapids Police Department identified Officer Schurr as the officer who shot and killed 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya during a traffic stop back on April 4.

RELATED: Grand Rapids Police release video of officer shooting, killing Patrick Lyoya

GRPD Police Chief Eric Winstrom says Officer Schurr has been with the force since 2015 and was assigned to the south service area.

13 ON YOUR SIDE received his personnel record on Friday, which shows several instances of being praised throughout his career at GRPD and his commitment to making streets safer.

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)

Officer Schurr’s personnel file had a few disciplinary incidents, including two that involved driving.

In January of 2021, Officer Schurr backed up his cruiser unsafely according to documents and was coached by the chief of police.

The document reminded Schurr that he is expected to safely operate his vehicle with due care and caution at all times. He was told to refrain from similar unsafe driving behavior.

Schurr was warned that any future incident similar in nature may include further discipline.

In April of 2021, a complaint was filed with GRPD sparking an internal investigation into Officer Schurr and two other officers for improper search.

Officer Schurr had stopped a car near Division and Rose for a traffic violation due to an air freshener hanging from the rear window which was obstructing the driver’s view.

The report showed Officer Schurr recognized the driver from previous interactions. During the stop, it was determined the driver did not have a driver’s license and was arrested. A search of the car found a small bag with an unknown substance, prompting police to search the car.

A safe was located in the backseat and with the help of a tow truck driver, the safe was opened and a portion of a firearm was found inside.

A complaint was filed but Officer Schurr and two others were acquitted after review by the internal affairs investigator.

In one of the instances in Schurr’s personnel file, he was praised for his outstanding performance by former police chief David Rahinsky for his response to a traffic stop back in May of 2016.

The report shows Officer Schurr had stopped a car near Prince Street and Eastern Avenue in what Rahinsky called is an “area know for drug and gun violations”.

When Officer Schurr stopped the car, a handgun and a small bag of marijuana were thrown from the car.

The driver and one of the passengers were arrested at the scene and were believed to have been dealing drugs.

A few days later, the officer was involved in a traffic stop near Highland Street and Madison Avenue SE. Officer Schurr quickly learned the driver did not have a license and when he went to handcuff the driver, the suspect fled and actively resisted his arrest.

Police ended up finding a revolver to the right of the driver’s seat and the driver was arrested.

Fast forward to February of 2017 when Officer Schurr made three arrests on Ardmore Street SE. After seeing a car quickly switch directions, the officer followed the car and pulled it over.

In the report, the driver admitted to selling cocaine with two passengers. He was praised for following through on suspicious behavior.

Officer Schurr was also praised by Rahinsky after a gun-related arrest in February of 2017 on Griggs Street.

Rahinsky said Schurr stopped a car that he remembered from a previous incident and the driver was the brother of a previous suspect.

The driver admitted to having a gun in the car and told Officer Schurr he had applied for a CPL but did not have a valid one yet.

He was released at the scene but days later Officer Schurr confirmed a warrant had been issued, found the suspect at his home and arrested him without incident.

In May of 2017, Officer Schurr received a letter from Rahinsky praising him for making two arrests during a traffic stop on the city’s Southeast side.

The report says Officer Schurr made contact with two people in a car who were unknown to the homeowner and found a bag of marijuana, and a loaded firearm under the seat.

“Your quick and professional actions resulted in another firearm being removed from the streets and two parolees taken into custody,” Rahinsky said.

Then in April of 2017, Officer Schurr was selected to receive the Team Performance Award for his "meritorious and professional actions in 2016." 

In the letter sent to the officer by Rahinsky, he commended Officer Schurr for “looking for criminal behavior and concentrating on gun, gang and drug crimes”.

“There is no doubt that your hard work, diligence and overall professional efforts had a positive impact on the citizens of the South Service Area,” Rahinsky said in the letter.

More recently Officer Schurr was commended for his response to a stolen vehicle investigation near Miss Tracy’s party store where he found a stolen vehicle that was involved in a break-in where five long guns were stolen.

“For your role in helping to apprehend a potentially violent and dangerous criminal, it is with great pride that I thank and commend you for your outstanding performance of duty,” former Police Chief Eric Payne wrote in a letter to Officer Schurr.

You can view the personnel report below, some of which are redacted.

Officer Schurr remains on paid administrative leave. He has been stripped of his police powers. The Michigan State Police sent over a portion of their findings to the Kent County Prosecutor's Office will determine the next steps. 

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

Authorities recently released several angles of video that capture the incident: body-worn camera, in-car video, a neighbor’s doorbell video and cellphone video the passenger of Lyoya's car recorded. 

That cellphone video captures the moment Schurr shoots Lyoya. 

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

The family laid Lyoya to rest last week. 

RELATED: Al Sharpton gives powerful eulogy; promises justice for Patrick Lyoya

An independent autopsy report showed that Lyoya was shot in the back of the head during the traffic stop.

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