“They will express to you how very devastated they are at seeing, in their words, their son executed,” stated civil rights legal professional Ben Crump throughout a information convention Thursday. Crump is representing the household of Patrick Lyoya, an unarmed Black man, who was fatally shot in Grand Rapids on April 4.
Crump and the Lyoya household have been joined by attorneys, non secular and group leaders at a metropolis church for a “community conversation” about civil rights and police violence.
Lyoya’s mother and father, Dorcas and Peter, and his brother Thomas wept on the group discussion board calling for the prosecution of the officer concerned within the incident and demanded justice for the 26-year-old.
The Lyoya household moved from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the United States in 2014. Patrick’s father stated he thought he’d be protected throughout police encounters within the US.
“What is making me cry more is to see my son killed by a police officer for a small, small mistake,” Peter Lyoya stated by way of an interpreter. “My life has come to an end.”
Patrick’s mom stated she’s “deeply hurt and wounded” and can’t cease herself from crying.
“When we run away from war in the [Democratic Republic of the Congo], I thought that I came to a safe land. And now, I’m surprised and astonished to see that my son is shot here,” Dorcas Lyoya stated by way of an interpreter. “That is my beloved son, and you know how you love your first-born son.”
Officer shot Lyoya within the head, police chief says
The incident started simply after eight a.m. CT on April 4, when a police officer pulled over a automobile for improper registration, authorities stated.
Lyoya confirms he speaks English and says his license is within the automobile. He opens the driving force’s aspect entrance door and speaks to an unidentified passenger within the automobile. He then shuts his door, turns his again to the officer and seems to stroll towards the entrance of the automobile, based on video footage.
“No, no, no, stop, stop,” the officer is heard saying. He then places his palms on Lyoya’s shoulder and again. Lyoya is seen resisting the officer’s contact and shortly backs away from the officer, working away from him earlier than the officer tackles him to the bottom and tells Lyoya to “stop resisting.”
The video reveals Lyoya getting up and standing, the officer drawing after which deploying a Taser.
Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom instructed reporters throughout a information convention that the Taser was deployed twice throughout the confrontation however the prongs did not hit Lyoya.
“Let go of the Taser,” the officer is heard saying on his physique cam video.
At this level, the officer’s physique worn digicam was deactivated. Winstrom stated it takes pushing a button for 3 seconds to show off the physique digicam and he thought stress from Lyoya’s physique brought on the deactivation.
Another angle of the incident, taken from a neighborhood dwelling surveillance digicam, captures the remainder of the altercation. The officer is heard capturing Lyoya, based on audio from the video. The cellphone video additionally reveals the deadly shot.
Lyoya was shot within the head, Winstrom stated.
Patrick’s father described his son as “non-violent” and stated he felt the officer was the one being aggressive. He additionally stated throughout the occasion that he has the fitting to know the title of the one who killed his son and what his historical past is.
Winstrom stated on Wednesday that the officer concerned within the capturing won’t be recognized publicly except there are felony fees. The officer, who has been with the division for seven years, is on paid depart and his police powers have been suspended, Winstrom stated. Michigan State Police are conducting a felony investigation.
Officer ‘didn’t observe primary coaching,’ Crump says
“This video was very difficult to watch, because what you see in that video is an unnecessary and unjustifiable excessive use of force,” Crump stated Thursday. Crump has represented the households of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Michael Brown and different high-profile victims of police violence.
During the information convention, Crump outlined completely different actions the officer may have taken to deescalate the state of affairs as a substitute of deploying his weapon.
“This officer failed to follow the basic training. When the officer engages Patrick he goes and puts his hands on him, and when Patrick goes to walk away he could’ve just stepped back and called for backup,” Crump stated. “When you look at him escalating the situation, [the officer] was the one being violent.”
Crump stated regardless of the officer’s violence, Lyoya didn’t retaliate and have “combat” with this officer.
“Even after he deployed the Taser twice, if he had been following his training, that would’ve presented to him again another opportunity to deescalate and call for backup,” Crump stated. “What was so wrong about him calling for backup? It wasn’t like Patrick had murdered someone. It wasn’t like he had robbed anybody. He was being stopped for a traffic violation.”
Crump stated there’s nothing within the physique and surveillance footage that indicated Patrick was an instantaneous hazard to the officer.
“You cannot shoot an unarmed person just because they resist,” Crump stated, including, “and you cannot shoot an unarmed person just because of the color of their skin.”
Crump stated he and the Lyoya household have requested the state’s legal professional to prosecute the officer to the fullest extent of the legislation.
Tamika Palmer, the mom of Breonna Taylor, was additionally current throughout the occasion and known as for the officer concerned within the capturing to be “arrested, convicted and prosecuted.” Taylor was fatally shot by Louisville law enforcement officials executing a no-knock warrant at her condo in March 2020.
In calling for police reform on the federal stage, Crump stated: “We can’t afford not one more day to pass, because as Tamika Palmer said, ‘how many more of our children have to die before we change the laws and change the policy here in the United States of America?'”
There have been a number of protests and rallies on behalf of Lyoya. On Tuesday night, dozens of individuals known as for justice as they rallied outdoors a City Commission assembly.
CNN’s Omar Jimenez, Elizabeth Joseph, Steve Almasy and Tiffany Anthony contributed to this report.