GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Businesses in downtown Grand Rapids are preparing for possible backlash following the release of video by the GRPD showing the shooting death of 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya.
Some businesses have decided to board up their windows in anticipation of the 3 p.m. press conference by GRPD Chief Eric Winstrom.
In addition, salt trucks have been brought in and placed throughout downtown.
Just after 1:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, City Manager Mark Washington released a statement regarding the added precautions.
"I am aware of planned marches and free speech activities in response to the recent officer involved shooting. These demonstrations are currently planned for the downtown area over the next several days into this weekend. I fully support our residents exercising their First Amendment rights. My staff – to include the Office of Special Events and our public safety agencies – is currently coordinating with the organizers to ensure they are able to do so in a safe and productive manner.
Due to the focus of the protest being on our police department, we have taken some precautionary measures around that facility to facilitate continued access and uninterrupted operations. This not only secures the facility but ensures we’re able to provide public safety continuity of service for the entire community. I understand these precautions may be alarming to some, I can assure you that we have no current indication of an imminent threat.
While those actions have been taken out of an abundance of caution, we do not currently anticipate any threats to people or property in the downtown area. Following this afternoon’s 3:00 p.m. video release, we will continue to prioritize the safety of our community and provide additional direction if necessary."
Downtown prepares ahead of police killing video release April 13, 2022
Chief Winstrom says he'll release multiple sources of video of the April 4 police killing of Lyoya during what police say was a traffic stop.
Winstrom says footage will be from a body-worn camera, an in-car camera, a cell phone and a home surveillance system. He says he will provide context to the video at the press conference.
The video is expected to contain strong language as well as graphic images resulting in the loss of life. Viewer discretion is advised, and an age restriction will be in place for the video on the City's YouTube page.
The videos will be unedited, but some video images may have been redacted or blurred for privacy reasons. The audio will not be edited, Winstrom says.
Barricades already went up around The Grand Rapids Police Department Tuesday.
Mayor Rosalynn Bliss put out a statement ahead of the video release.
"Today is another difficult day for our community. My heart continues to go out to Patrick Lyoya's family and loved ones as I am so terribly sorry for their loss.
The release of the video footage this afternoon will be painful to watch and will be sure to trigger additional trauma, anger and sadness among many other feelings, especially in our Black community where far too many continue to experience racism and inequity.
I know that we will continue to experience a range of strong emotions as we navigate these challenging times and I recognize that we have difficult days, weeks and months ahead - both for Patrick's family and our community. Yet I have great faith in our community that we can navigate these difficult days together and that anger and passion can drive significant and long-term change."
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.