The Michigan police officer responsible for the shooting death of Patrick Lyoya has been charged. CNN reported Christopher Schurr, a Grand Rapids police officer has been charged with second-degree murder after shooting Lyoya in the back of the head during a traffic stop in April. The violent incident gained national attention after a video of the killing was released.
“This is not a message. This is just based on the facts and making a decision in this case,” said Kent County Prosecuting Attorney Christopher Becker.
Grand Rapids Police Department Chief Eric Winstrom said he was recommending Schurr for suspension without pay pending termination. Schurr will have a discharge hearing where a city manager will decide the status of his employment.
“Patrick is not coming back. We are not going to see him again,” said Peter Lyoya, Patrick’s father. “And to show this point that the police officer will be charged, and is charged, that brings a little bit of consolation to our family because we see everybody that supports us, everybody who stands by us, they did a good job to get this kind of justice.”
Ben Crump, who is representing the Lyoya family, added that Schurr “must be held accountable for his decision to pursue an unarmed Patrick, ultimately shooting him in the back of the head and killing him — for nothing more than a traffic stop.”
According to the New York Times, video of the fatal traffic stop was captured by Schurr’s dashboard and body camera, a passenger in the car with Lyoya, as well as a home-surveillance system in the neighborhood. After chasing Lyoya on-foot, the officer attempted to use his taser however it was unsuccessful. In the struggle, Schurr eventually gets Lyoya face down on the ground, sitting on his back. He then commanded Lyoya to let go of the taser and seconds later fired his gun into the back of Lyoya’s head.
Lyoya was initially pulled over by Schurr after the officer found the license plate did not belong to the vehicle.
Weeks after the shooting, protestors shut down a city meeting demanding justice according to ABC News.
“I’ve been in this situation before, where, people want to scream and yell,” explained Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom. “It looked to me like it was a group of people who wanted to vent.”
“Sometimes people want to sit at the table, the seat at the table, they want their voice to be heard and they want to have a discussion and then other times they just want to vent. It sounded to me after the first couple of speakers people just wanted to scream and yell.”
According to the Michigan Penal Code, second-degree murder shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life, or any term of years, in the discretion of the court trying the same.