'How are we supposed to feel safe?' Residents have shared their frustration after a police killing Patrick Lyoya

'How are we supposed to feel safe?' Residents have shared their frustration after a police killing P ...

Emotions were ruffled Thursday as around 100 people attended Ottawa Hills High School for a discussion on Patrick Lyoya's death.

The auditorium, which was a mile away from Lyoya's death, was filled with information about racism and the trauma trauma experienced by law enforcement.

"How are we supposed to feel safe and trust the cops?" said Khashyah Williams, an eighth grade student at Grand Rapids Montessori school. "I'm very scared and traumatized."

Residents also spoke with community leaders, including members of the Grand Rapids City Commission, about the use of force by police and the circumstances leading up to the death of Lyoya, whose family came to the United States in 2014.

"Patrick was confused, and he was afraid," Shaunna Dior said, describing Lyoya's reaction, captured in a police body camera video.

He didn't know what he did. What he did know was that police kill Black people, and he was scared, and he ran.

On the morning of April 4, a police officer in Grand Rapids shot Lyoya in the head, killing him in the back of the head. During a traffic stop, a tussle followed, and he battled over a taser.

As the two men battled, the officer told Lyoya to let go of the Taser repeatedly.

The White Impact Collaboration and others held a panel of members including City Commissioners Senita Lenear and Nathaniel Moody, as well as City Attorney Anita Hitchcock on Thursday's meeting.

Participants were briefed on the investigation of Lyoya's death the matter is being overseen by Michigan State Police and spoke about the emotional effects the shooting has had on the community. Representatives of Mental Health Clinicians of Color were on hand to speak with attendees, and panelists pointed out mental health resources.

The last few days have been traumatic for many of us, Moody said. We are here this evening to discuss how we can help each other heal through this trauma.

At moments, the discussion sparked anger.

Members of the public, who have been reprimanded by footage of Lyoya's death, have often slammed against panelists. They said people of color in Grand Rapids have long been mistreated by police, and they were concerned why more hasn't been done before to resolve the issue.

One guy, early in the meeting, decided to leave when organizers asked guests to write questions for the panel on index cards. As he sat up, he proclaimed that organizers were unwilling to respond directly from residents.

In response to Lyoya, another man shouted out, "He was murdered." After such interactions, audience members were permitted to answer directly to panelists, despite the fact that emotions remained.

One man, who sounded himself as a refugee, expressed his displeasure about the hardships faced by refugees in Kent County, and asked officials why they haven't improved relationships with the refugee community.

Nadia Brigham, a panelist and co-founder of the Black Impact Collaborative, began to respond, so the man dismissed her, saying, You're just patronizing again.

You don't know me, and I don't know you, Brigham replied. We all are in pain. We all are frustrated.

Later, after the meeting, Brigham said she understands the anger and sadness experienced by the group.

They should be outraged, she said. If youre not, youve got to check your human condition. Im saddened like its my child.

After the meeting, Lenear said she was pleased that residents turned out to voice their concerns.

People are hurting, and we are all hurting in this community, she said. To collectively come to terms with how were hurting was appropriate.

"Many people are told and encouraged to sweep it under the rug and put on a smile and move on," she said. We must be present in this space, but learn some techniques and tools to do it.

Read more about the report.

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