Police release name of Grand Rapids officer who killed Patrick Lyoya
Great Rapids – Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom released the name of the officer who shot and killed Patrick Lyoya on April 4 on Monday.
“In the interest of transparency, to reduce ongoing speculation, and to avoid further confusion, I confirm the name that is already circulating publicly – Christopher Schurr – as the officer involved in the April 4 shooting,” said Winstrom in a statement.
“Beginning this week, as required by law, the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) will be releasing documents in response to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act regarding this incident.”
Schurr remains on administrative leave, without police powers, while Michigan State Police investigate, he said.
The police union, the Grand Rapids Police Officer’s Association, did not immediately respond to a message left by The Detroit News.
Lyoya’s family, their attorneys and community groups like the Greater Grand Rapids NAACP had urged the department to release Schurr’s name, noting that the names of black criminal suspects are routinely released to the media.
“It took them three weeks before the day of the shooting to reveal his name,” Lyoya family attorney Ven Johnson said Monday. “The family had to bury (Lyoya) without knowing the name of the man who ended his life.
“Grand Rapids police said they were going to be 100% transparent, but being transparent doesn’t mean hiding information that you’ve had for moments after the shooting,” Johnson said. “It’s the exact opposite of transparent.”
At Lyoya’s funeral on Friday, the Reverend Al Sharpton asked authorities to publicly identify Schurr. He said it was unacceptable for the officer’s name to be released only if he is charged with a crime, which was the city’s previous position.
He said police regularly release the names of black people suspected of crimes.
“You put their name all over the news,” he said. “Whenever we are suspected of something, you put our name there. How dare you carry the name of a man who killed this man.
Sharpton, who delivered the eulogy, also asked the US Department of Justice to investigate the shooting, which is currently being handled by Michigan State Police.
Lyoya was face down and trying to get up when he was shot in the back of the neck by Schurr, video released by police. The white officer was above him and can be heard on video demanding that Lyoya remove his hand from the officer’s stun gun.
The officer is heard earlier saying that Lyoya was pulled over because the license plate didn’t match the car Lyoya was driving in a Grand Rapids neighborhood. Lyoya refused to get back into the vehicle as ordered and fled the scene. A short foot chase ensued before the deadly struggle.
Once the state police complete its investigation, the agency will forward its findings to the Kent County District Attorney’s office for review of any charges. County Attorney Chris Becker told the public not to expect a quick decision.
Becker declined Monday to answer questions about the impact of the decision to release Schurr’s name on his desk. In a brief statement, he said state police are still working on the investigation.
Michigan State Police Lt. Michelle Robinson said in an email: “We have been advised that Grand Rapids Police intend to release the name of the officer. State of Michigan will continue to ensure that all evidence and facts are properly collected and documented.”
The department noted in its statement that while the city “has a long-standing practice of withholding the names of any employee under investigation until the conclusion of an administrative investigation” as well as the names of individuals who have not been arrested or charged with a crime, “policing reform requires the evaluation of many long-standing practices to ensure that our actions are in the best interests of the community and the individuals affected. “
The city, Grand Rapids Police, Office of Oversight and Public Accountability and Department of Human Resources will review the policies, according to the release.
Schuur graduated from the University of Sienna Heights in 2014 with a degree in criminal justice, according to a story that year in Vaulter, an online publication covering pole vaulting.
A decathlete at Adrian’s Catholic School, he decided to focus solely on pole vault in his final season. He jumped 17 feet 1 3/4 inches at the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Championships on May 2, 2014, setting a school and conference record.
The former Byron Center High School student told the Vaulter that he got engaged earlier that month to his high school sweetheart and would be getting married in Kenya, where he had made mission trips to build homes. houses across his church, Corinth Reform in Byron Center, a suburb of Grand Rapids.
“We’re getting married in Kenya,” Schurr told the Vaulter. “Me and my fiancée went to Kenya on a mission trip last year. We were asked to go back this year, but we couldn’t afford a wedding and the trip, so we decided to take them. combine.”
They planned to marry in traditional Kenyan wedding clothes, without family, he told the Vaulter, and to have a celebration with the family when they returned.
Schurr joined the Grand Rapids Police Department the following year, the department said previously.
Writer Francis X. Donnelly contributed