The identity of the officer who shot and killed a Black driver during a traffic check has now been revealed by the Grand Rapids Police Department. The family and other community activists say the “three-week delay in publishing the name” of the cop who shot the man is “offensive,” despite local law enforcement promising to be forthcoming about the inquiry.
Officer Christopher Schurr, who has been placed on administrative leave, was identified on Monday, April 25, as the person who fatally shot Patrick Lyoya, an unarmed African immigrant, on April 4.
“Every time a young Black man or woman is arrested in this town, you put their name all over the news,” Rev. Al Sharpton said at Lyoya’s funeral on Friday, April 22 at the Renaissance Church of God in Christ.” You throw our name out there every time we’re suspected of something.”
“How dare you hold the name of a man who killed this man,” the civil rights leader said before demanding the officer’s name be disclosed. “We’re looking for his name!”
In a statement, GRPD Chief Eric Winstrom said the city has a “long-standing practice of withholding the names of any personnel under investigation until the administrative investigation is completed.”
“Additionally, while the Grand Rapids Police Department has a long-standing policy of withholding the names of individuals who have not been arrested or charged with a crime – a policy that applies to all public employees, police officers, and members of the public – police reform necessitates evaluating many long-standing practices to ensure our actions are consistent with the best interests of the community and the individuals involved,” he wrote.
“In the sake of transparency, to eliminate on-going conjecture, and to avoid any additional confusion,” he said, “the force decided to publicize Schurr’s name.”
Lawyers for the deceased’s family, on the other hand, disagree.
“An purposeful three-week delay in publishing the name of the involved officer, which they plainly knew at the time of the incident, is insulting and the polar opposite of transparency,” said Ven Johnson in a statement.
He said, “Once again.” “We see the Grand Rapids Police Department prioritizing its own mental health and well-being at the price of the family’s mental health and well-being.”
The decision to dismiss Schurr, who joined the force in 2015, is welcomed by Kent County Commissioner Robert Womack, a public official who has stood by the family.
“After national pressure from national leadership coming to Grand Rapids, I’m delighted they finally disclosed his identity,” Womack added.
“For the last 24 days, the community had been begging for his identity, and when they heard it wouldn’t be published unless he was charged,” he explained.
Womack claims he “addressed it to Ben Crump and Al Sharpton” after hearing it, and that he was delighted to hear “Al Sharpton speak on the matter in the funeral.”
Lyoya tries to flee the officer when he is held over the legality of his vehicle registration, according to bodycam, dashboard film, home security video, and a visual from Lyoya’s riding companion’s mobile phone.
While the two are wrestling, the video looks that the 26-year-old is reaching for the cop’s taser gun. Schurr leaned over the man near the end before shooting him in the head.
Dr. Werner Spitz, a forensic pathologist, was recruited by Lyoya’s family after he stated last week that he believes Schurr’s revolver was firmly forced into the back of Lyoya’s skull before he was shot.
The deceased perished as a result of that single injury.
According to a 2014 interview with MLive, Schurr graduated from Sienna Heights University with a criminal justice degree eight years ago. He and his then-fiancée were missionaries in Africa while he was in school, bringing their Christian beliefs and building houses in Kisi, Kenya, almost 1,100 miles from Lyoya’s homeland, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Authorities have not produced a formal autopsy report yet, according to the statement, but it will be released soon.
Prosecutors in Kent County said they will await the results of the autopsy and the conclusion of the state police investigation before charging Schurr with Lyoya’s murder.