A white Michigan cop fatally shot Patrick Lyoya in the back of the head while kneeling on top of him after pulling him over for allegedly having a problem with his license plate, video released Wednesday by the Grand Rapids police department (after demands from the public and Lyoya’s family) shows. Lyoya, a 26 year-old Black man, was unarmed. He had two young children. “I want people to see the way my son was killed. I want the entire world to see how my son was executed,” Peter Lyoya told MLive.
Lyoya came to the U.S. as a refugee in 2014, fleeing violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “He is my firstborn,” Dorcas Lyoya, Patrick’s mother, said. Adding she had thought the U.S. would be safe. “I am really deeply hurt and wounded. I don’t know what to do, I cannot stop myself from crying. All the mothers here, you know the pain we go through to give birth to a child … I was thinking it was my son who would bury me, but I am the one burying my son.”
Straight up murder
The cop, who has not been identified, has been on paid administrative leave since he shot Lyoya on April 4. Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer representing the family, said the video shows the “police officer escalate[d] a minor traffic stop into a deadly execution,” and called for the officer to be fired, arrested, and prosecuted.
“It was lethal force and, in our opinion, it was just straight up murder,” Carlton Mayers II, a legal consultant for the NAACP in Grand Rapids, said. (The Root, NewsOne, Black Wall Street Times, Blavity, Buzzfeed, NBC, Michigan Live, Detroit Free Press, WZZM13, AP, Washington Post $, The Guardian, USA Today, New York Times $, BBC, CBS, Wall Street Journal $, CNN, The Cut, ClickOnDetroit); Video release demand: MLive; Dorcas Lyoya: Detroit Free Press, The Hill; Calls for accountability: (Fox-17, WXYZ, Fox-2, MLive, WOOD-TV)