After a traffic stop, an officer shot driver Patrick Lyoya in the back of his head

After a traffic stop, an officer shot driver Patrick Lyoya in the back of his head ...

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. According to footage of the April 4 encounter, a Black man was fatally shot in the back of the head by a Michigan police officer.

Patrick Lyoya, 26, was murdered outside a house in Grand Rapids. A white cop repeatedly ordered Lyoya to "let go" of his Taser, at one point pledging: "Drop the Taser!"

On Wednesday, city's new police chief, Eric Winstrom, released four videos, including critical footage of the shooting by a passenger in Lyoya's car on that rainy day.

I see it as a tragedy.... It was a sense of sadness for me, said Winstrom, a former high-ranking Chicago cop commander who became Grand Rapids head in March. The city of about 200,000 people is about 150 miles northwest of Detroit.

Lyoya was driving with a license plate that wasn't in the vehicle in a video. While Lyoya's passenger was out and watched, the couple struggled in front of several houses.

Winstrom said the attack over the Taser took about 90 seconds. In the final moments, the officer was on top of Lyoya, kneeling on his back at times to detonate him.

Taser was fired twice after being assessed by my view of the video. 'It was not about making contact,' Winstrom said of reporters. 'And Mr. Lyoya was shot in the head.'

State authorities are investigating. Dr. Stephen Cohle, Kent County's chief medical examiner, claimed he completed the autopsy, but toxicology tests haven't been completed.

From the start, the traffic stop was tense. Video shows Lyoya, a Congoan resident, getting out of the car before the cop approached. He ordered Lyoya to go back in the vehicle, but the man refused.

The cop asked him if he spoke English and demanded his driver's license. The foot chase started shortly after, according to video.

Winstrom did not identify the officer, a seven-year veteran who was on paid leave during the investigation.

Ive been dealing many police shootings myself for the past 20 years, so I have a lot of experience in this," said the chief. I was hoping to never have to use that experience here.

The footage was collected from Lyoya's passenger, the officer's body camera, the officer's patrol car, and a doorbell camera. Attorney Chris Becker, who will decide whether any charges are warranted, objected to the release, but said Winstrom may do so on his own.

According to Becker, the public shouldn't expect a speedy decision.

While video versions of the one-hour series are important evidence, they are not all of the evidence, he added.

Winstrom said the officer's body camera was turned off before the shooting, which occurs when a button is pushed for three seconds. He said it appears it was deactivated unintentionally due to body pressure during the maneuver, but he would not discuss any officer statements.

"That will come out once the investigation is complete," said Winstrom.

Following the release of the videos, City Manager Mark Washington warned that these videos would result in "expressions of shock, of anger, and of pain." Several hundred protesters gathered outside the Police Department of Grand Rapids, with some cursing and shouting from behind bars. The group demanded that officials make public the name of the cop involved.

Several businesses closed early Wednesday, others boarded up windows. The demonstration was still nonviolent.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spoke with his family about Lyoya's two young daughters and five siblings.

"He was given his whole life ahead of him," said Whitmer, a Democrat.

Ben Crump, a prominent civil rights attorney, spoke on Wednesday in the name of Lyoya's family.

"The video clearly shows that this was an unarmed Black man who was shocked by the encounter and scared for his life," Crump said in a statement.

"It should be noted that Patrick never used violence against this officer, even if the officer used violence against him in several instances for what was a misdemeanor traffic stop," he said.

Thursday afternoon, Crump and Lyoya's family were expected to hold a press conference.

Winstrom last week said that he met Lyoya's father, Peter Lyoya, and that they both had cried.

I get it as a father.... It's just heart-wrenching, said the head of WOOD-TV.

Grand Rapids police have been often criticized for employing force, particularly against Black people, who constitute 18% of the population.

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

The downtown street has been formally named Breonna Taylor Way, a name for the Black woman and her native from Grand Rapids, who was murdered in a slain fire in Kentucky in 2020.


AP reporters Corey Williams from West Bloomfield, Michigan, David Eggert from Lansing, Michigan, and John Flesher from Traverse City, Michigan, all contributed to this story.

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