The family of a Black man fatally shot by Michigan police last week is demanding that police release body camera and dash camera video of the shooting to the public.
On April 4, 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya was killed after he was pulled over by a Grand Rapids police officer for an unregistered license plate. According to Police Chief Eric Winstrom, Lyoya got out of his car, ran away from the officer and was fatally shot after a struggle.
“A lengthy struggle ensued between the officer and that person. The officer discharged his weapon, killing the driver of that vehicle,” said Chief Winstrom. “During the struggle, the officer lost his body-worn camera. We can see the camera is still on scene and it’s still activated so we are anxious to recover that camera and review that video.”
Lyoya’s family is disputing the police account of the encounter, after they were shown dashcam video of the shooting this week. Lyoya’s father, Peter Lyoya, and family’s interpreter, Israel Siku, say the video shows Lyoya facedown on the ground when the officer shot him in the back of the head.
“I don’t want the video to be edited,” Peter Lyoya said. “I want people to see the way my son was killed. I want the entire world to see how my son was executed.”
“Patrick’s hands were on the back. [The officer] took the gun, and put it on the head and they shoot Patrick on the back on the head,” said Peter.
“I saw the video. I could not sleep. The boy was on the floor. The cop was on his knees, pulled out the gun and shot him in the head,” Siku said Sunday at a community forum at Renaissance Church of God in Christ in Grand Rapids. The family’s native language is Swahili.
Lyoya’s family and supporters have demanded the immediate release of the full video. They also want the officer to face justice for Lyoya’s death.
The officer, who is white, was placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation. The practice is standard protocol. The name of the officer has not yet been released to the public.
More than a week after the shooting, the officer has yet to be interviewed by Michigan State Police. Authorities have told FOX 17 that detectives have not been able to question the officer because his attorney was on vacation for the week.
Chief Winstrom said in a statement Friday that he would release the video “no later than noon on Friday, April 15.”
Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker has requested that the video be withheld from the public until the state police investigation is complete.
“There are still many questions which remain unanswered. As is our policy with any ongoing investigation, we do not release any material for public consumption. To maintain the integrity of this investigation, I have requested that involved police agencies do not release any evidence until the investigation is complete,” Becker said in a statement. “While I am committed to the transparency of the process, I also must follow legal and ethical duties to ensure the integrity of the investigation by ensuring that information regarding the event that could compromise the investigation is not released.”
The family’s lawyer, national civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, said at a community forum over the weekend: “Every Black family lives in fear that a routine traffic stop will turn deadly. Patrick’s fate is the nightmare we live with every day.”
Lyoya leaves behind two children under 2 years old.