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Kent County Prosecutor weighs in on Patrick Lyoya killing investigation

Prosecutor Chris Becker is hopeful the case will be turned over to his office by the end of next week.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The killing of Patrick Lyoya by a Grand Rapids Police officer remains under investigation. Michigan State Police is the agency handling that case for now, but once they complete their investigation it will be turned over to the Kent County Prosecutor's Office, which will determine if charges are filed.

Chris Becker, Kent County's Prosecuting Attorney, says he's hopeful the case will be turned over before the end of next week. He called it his internal timeline and based that hope on the previous officer-involved shootings he's worked on. He's not ruling out it taking longer given the steps required for a thorough investigation.

"When you get a major shooting event," Becker said, "very often, it could take time to go through things. Not every case is cut and dry, and things don't get resolved in an hour. I think that's the common myth."

The prosecutor's office can go days without receiving a single message, but that hasn't been the case in the wake of Patrick Lyoya's death. Becker says the office is getting dozens, if not hundreds, of messages a day through phone calls, emails, or Facebook messages.

RELATED: A LOOK AHEAD | Patrick Lyoya events scheduled this week

There have also been questions of objectivity for Becker to investigate a police killing. According to Michigan Radio, Becker received a $1,000 campaign contribution in 2016 from the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has stated her office would take over the case if asked to.

"So what changes this now?" Becker asked in response to being asked about the campaign contribution. He pointed out several officer-involved shootings, one as recent as the month prior, where the contribution, or his bias, were not called into question.

"Why suddenly now is it an issue? it's something that's gonna, you know, force me to disqualify myself when it hasn't in the past?" he said. "This is not the first time we've had an officer-involved shooting in Kent County. We treat every case with the same care and the same seriousness it deserves."

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