The family of an African refugee was killed during a traffic stop on Thursday, which required authorities to dismiss the officer and file criminal charges against him, a day after a video of the deadly shooting was released.
After battling with an officer over a stun pistol, Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old Congolese refugee who is black, was killed in a residential neighborhood in Grand Rapids, where he lived. The officer has not been identified.
Lyoya's parents mourned the loss of their first-born son via a translator during a press conference on Thursday, declaring that they did not believe it would happen in the United States.
"My heart is broken to see an officer being on the back of my son and shoot him in the back of his head, and my heart is seriously broken," said Peter Lyoya, his father. "I'm requesting justice for Patrick."
According to the governor's office, the family fled violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2014.
Ben Crump, a prominent US civil rights attorney who represents the family, said the officer did not follow basic training guidelines and that the use of fatal force was unnecessary and unjustifiable.
"You see a police officer escalate a small traffic stop into a deadly execution," says a filmmaker. "There's another senseless killing of a Black person in America," he adds, referring to the video footage. "You see a police officer escalate a minor traffic stop into a deadly execution."
Crump expresses his support for federal police reform, claiming that Lyoya's death is part of a growing arsenal of brutal killings against racial minorities, including those of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, in situations that could have been de-escalated.
At a press conference in Grand Rapids, Tamika Palmer, Taylor's mother, was present.
The Detroit Free Press reports that hundreds of demonstrators gathered to protest the shooting, call for accountability, and demand for police reform.
Lyoya, who was driving with a front seat passenger on April 4, was pulled over after the cop took the car's license plate and discovered it did not match the vehicle.
According to video footage, a vehicle was left unattended by the officer who sought to enlist him. A short foot chase ensued and ended on a lawn of a house where Lyoya attempted to prohibit the officer from using his Taser.
The two had fallen to the ground when the officer drew his firearm and fired one shot in the back of his head, according to video footage.
The driver, who hasn't been charged, is on paid leave and under investigation by the Michigan State Police.
On Wednesday, commissioners in Kent County informed CNN that a decision on criminal charges would be made after the investigation ended.