3.9k Share this
Peter Lyoya took his six children from Congo in 2014 to escape violence. Now he fears he brought them to the United States to die.
A Michigan police officer fatally shot his eldest son, 26-year-old Patrick, in the head this month following a traffic stop in Grand Rapids.

Video shows a brief foot chase and struggle over the officer’s Taser before the white officer shoots Patrick as the Black man is face down on the ground.

Peter Lyoya holds up a picture of his son Patrick Lyoya, 26. (AP)

Peter talked with The Associated Press in his Lansing apartment on Thursday, a day after police released video of the fatal encounter. Patrick’s cousin Ben served as an interpreter.

Peter said he came to the US to get away from prolonged civil unrest in which several rebel groups have vied for control of territories in mineral-rich eastern Congo.

Patrick, who has two young children of his own, worked at an auto parts factory in Grand Rapids and would visit his siblings in Lansing on weekends, his dad said.

“Patrick never had a problem with anybody,” his dad said.

In the April 4 encounter, the officer repeatedly ordered Lyoya to “let go” of his Taser, at one point demanding: “drop the Taser”.

Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom cited a need for transparency when releasing video collected from a passenger in Patrick’s car, the officer’s body camera, the officer’s patrol car and a doorbell camera.

Chief Winstrom didn’t identify the officer, a seven-year veteran who is on paid leave during the investigation.

A TV display shows video evidence of a Grand Rapids police officer struggling with and shooting Patrick Lyoya.. (Cory Morse | MLive.com) (AP)

“I view it as a tragedy. … It was a progression of sadness for me,” said Chief Winstrom, a former high-ranking Chicago police commander who became chief of the city of about 200,000 people, roughly 240km north-west of Detroit, in March.

Peter asked for justice for his son and for the police to release the officer’s name. He said Patrick’s brothers and sisters want to know who killed him and would like to see his picture so they can know “this is the person that took our beloved one.”

Video shows Patrick running from the officer who stopped him for driving with a license plate that didn’t belong to the vehicle.

They struggled in front of several homes while Patrick’s passenger got out and watched.

Chief Winstrom said the fight over the Taser lasted about 90 seconds.

In the final moments, the officer was on top of Patrick, kneeling on his back at times to subdue him.

AIn the final moments, the officer was on top of Patrick, kneeling on his back at times to subdue him. (Cory Morse | MLive.com) (AP)

“From my view of the video, Taser was deployed twice. Taser did not make contact,” Chief Winstrom told reporters.

“And Mr Lyoya was shot in the head. However, that’s the only information that I have.”

State police are investigating. Kent County’s chief medical examiner, Dr Stephen Cohle, said he completed the autopsy but toxicology tests haven’t been finished.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said she had spoken with the family.

“He arrived in the United States as a refugee with his family fleeing violence. He had his whole life ahead of him,” Governor Whitmer, a Democrat, said.

The traffic stop was tense from the start. Video shows Patrick getting out of the car before the officer approached. He ordered Patrick to get back in the vehicle, but the man declined.

The officer ordered Patrick to get back in the vehicle, but the man declined..(Cory Morse | MLive.com) (AP)

The officer asked him if he spoke English and demanded his driver’s license. The foot chase began soon after, video shows.

Prosecutor Chris Becker will decide whether any charges are warranted but said the public shouldn’t expect a quick decision. While the videos “are an important piece of evidence, they are not all of the evidence,” he said.

The officer’s body camera was turned off before the shooting, which happens when a button is pushed for three seconds, Chief Winstrom said.

He said it appears it was deactivated unintentionally due to body pressure during the struggle, but he would not discuss any officer statements about it.

“That will come out once the investigation’s complete,” Chief Winstrom said.

Several hundred protesters gathered outside the Grand Rapids Police Department following the release of the videos, with some cursing and shouting from behind barricades.

Protesters march through downtown Grand Rapids. (Daniel Shular | MLive.com) (AP)

The group demanded officials make public the name of the officer in the shooting. The demonstration remained nonviolent.

Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump, speaking on behalf of the Lyoya family, called for the officer to be fired and prosecuted.

“It should be noted that Patrick never used violence against this officer even though the officer used violence against him in several instances for what was a misdemeanour traffic stop,” Mr Crump said in a news release.

Protesters march along Monroe Center NW after Grand Rapids police released video of the shooting death of Patrick Lyoya in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan on Tuesday, April 12, 2022. Lyoya, 26, a Black man was killed April 4, 2022 by a Grand Rapids police officer. (Joel Bissell | MLive.com) Joel Bissell | MLive.com (AP)

As in many US cities, Grand Rapids police have been occasionally criticised over the use of force, particularly against Black people, who make up 18 per cent of the population.

In November, the Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments in a lawsuit over the practice of photographing and fingerprinting people who were never charged with a crime. Grand Rapids said the policy changed in 2015.

Source: 9News

3.9k Share this
You May Also Like

Kate Moss shares a glimpse inside her 10 bedroom country pile in the Cotswolds

From dramatic oil paintings to a stunning garden, Kate Moss’s Cotswolds mansion…

‘American Pie’ Singer Don McLean Pulls Out of NRA Performance After Texas Shooting

“American Pie” singer Don McLean has pulled his upcoming performance at the…

Johnny Depp Defamation Trial Against Amber Heard

Watch actor Johnny Depp’s defamation trial against actress Amber Heard. The Pirates…

Cao Endorses Anderson for Congress

Republican Hung Cao, a retired Navy captain running for Congress, is endorsing…

Media heir Lachlan Murdoch quietly arrives into Sydney with his personal assistant on private jet

Billionaire media tycoon Lachlan Murdoch jets into Sydney on his $90million private…

Furious father of Texas school shooting victim slams police for failing to stop gunman for an HOUR

The father of a 10-year-old girl murdered in her Texas classroom on…

Gina Rinehart officially Australia’s richest person with $34 billion personal fortune

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart has once again been crowned Australia’s richest person,…

Inside the Intense Police Battle with Texas Elementary School Shooter

A lone gunman stormed into a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school Tuesday morning…