Grand Rapids cop faces second-degree murder charge for shooting Patrick Lyoya in back of head

Officer Schurr faces up to life in prison if convicted

click to enlarge Protesters demanded justice for the death of Patrick Lyoya, who was shot in the back of the head by a Grand Rapids cop. - MARC KLOCKOW
Marc Klockow
Protesters demanded justice for the death of Patrick Lyoya, who was shot in the back of the head by a Grand Rapids cop.

The Grand Rapids cop who shot 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya in the back of the head on April 4 will be charged with second-degree murder, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker announced Thursday.

Officer Christopher Schurr turned himself in and will soon be arraigned on the felony charge.

If convicted, Schurr faces up to life in prison.

Becker said he hopes the case sends the message that prosecutors are independent of the police.

“We take these cases seriously,” Becker said during a news conference. “Everybody thinks prosecutors are just an arm or branch of the police. We are not. We are our own entity. We have a duty to enforce the law, be it on police or the public.”

The shooting stemmed from a traffic stop over a mismatched license plate. Lyoya, who is Black, was behind the wheel when Schurr, who is white, pulled him over. Lyoya got out of his car and refused Schurr’s demands to get back in his vehicle.
click to enlarge Video from the officer's body camera caught the moments before the fatal shooting. - GRAND RAPIDS POLICE DEPARTMENT
Grand Rapids Police Department
Video from the officer's body camera caught the moments before the fatal shooting.

“Dude, I’m stopping you,” Schurr said. “Do you have a driver’s license? Do you speak English?”

Schurr tried to grab Lyoya, who fled to a nearby yard, where he was tackled by Schurr. They tussled for a couple of minutes before the cop tried twice to deploy his stun gun.

After Lyoya appeared to grab the stun gun, Schurr pulled out his department-issued pistol and shot Lyoya in the back of the head.

Many people questioned why Schurr, who had no backup, would chase Lyoya over a traffic violation. By tackling Lyoya, Schurr put himself in a situation where he’d likely have to use violent force over what amounts to a traffic ticket.

Becker said he’s confident in his decision to charge Schurr with second-degree murder.

“I wouldn’t charge if I didn’t think I could prove it,” Becker said, adding, “This was not a decision I took lightly.”

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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