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'Still in shock': Family speaks out at protest for man shot, killed by GRPD officer

Patrick Lyoya, 26, was identified as the victim of the fatal officer-involved shooting on Monday.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A large group gathered in Grand Rapids Saturday afternoon to protest the death of Patrick Lyoya, 26, who was shot and killed by a Grand Rapids Police Officer on Monday, April 4. 

Around 8 a.m. Monday, officers with the Grand Rapids Police Department initiated a traffic stop near Griggs Street and Nelson Avenue SE, police say. The driver of the vehicle, identified as Lyoya, got out of the car and fled on foot. 

The officer pursued Lyoya and a short physical struggle took place. The officer then drew his firearm and shot Lyoya, killing him.

"I am still in shock," Lyoya's brother said. "I’m still expecting a phone call on the weekend like, 'hey, let's hang out,' I still can't believe what happened." 

Community members at the protest demanded that the Grand Rapids Police Department release body and dash cam footage of the incident.

"If this police, the one who did this can be punished the others will learn. If not, we will be crying every day," a Congolese community member said to the crowd. "It will never stop with a march or anything else, but our unity is going to stop this."

Credit: Justin Bachman, 13 On Your Side

Chief Eric Winstrom with GRPD released a statement Friday, promising transparency around the incident:

"Since this tragic event occurred on Monday morning and in the hours and days that followed, I have been consistent in my commitment to transparency. I have publicly stated my intention to release the video next week and I intend to keep that promise. I have also committed to protecting the integrity of the investigation in the interests of justice and accountability."

The statement comes just a day after Kent County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Becker said that the body camera footage of Monday's fatal officer-involved shooting will not be released until the investigation is over.

The victim's father, Peter Lyoya, disputes GRPD's claim the incident was a traffic stop. He also claims Michigan State Police, the organization leading the investigation, showed him dash-cam footage of the struggle.

Peter says his son's car broke down in the street after he had finished working. A friend was riding in the passenger seat. Patrick stepped out of the car to check and see what the problem was when a GRPD officer arrived. 

Through his interpreter, Israel Siku, Peter said, "They started arguing. [The officer] started fighting with Patrick and he wanted to arrest Patrick."

Peter says the officer got ahold of Patrick and put him on the ground.

"Patrick's hand was on the back and [the officer] took the gun and put it on his head. He shot Patrick on the back of the head."

Peter says Patrick's friend recorded the altercation with his cell phone. Peter hasn't seen that video because it was turned over to MSP, however, he says the agency did show him dash-cam video of the altercation on Wednesday.

Credit: Justin Bachman, 13 On Your Side

"I have a son," Siku said speaking for himself about the video. "The only thing I could see, it was my son. Laying down. It should not happen."

"I didn’t believe that this could ever happen to me in this country," Peter said. He says his family came to the United States for a safer life. "And I’m asking myself, 'why did I come here?'"

A video of the incident is expected to be released no later than noon on April 15, Chief Winstrom said.

Watch part of the protest below (disclaimer: profanity may be used during this video, please use caution):

    

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