Patrick Lyoya shooting witness speaks out: ‘You don’t tussle with white people’

A witness to the shooting of Patrick Lyoya by a Michigan police officer stated he “knew it wasn’t going to end well” for the immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo after Lyoya allegedly struggled to gain control of the officer’s Taser.

“I knew when the tussle began,” Wayne Butler told CNN. “If you tussle with a white man with a gun, and you’re black in America, you end up dead. That was my thing. I know that to be a fact. You don’t tussle with white people because they’ll kill you.”

As reported in BizPac Review, the fatal incident started out as a routine traffic stop over mismatched plates.

Bodycam video released earlier this week appears to show Lyoya, 26, ignoring the unidentified police officer’s directive to stay in the vehicle and attempting to walk away when the officer asks Lyoya to retrieve his driver’s license from the car. The officer tackled Lyoya, repeatedly ordered him to stop resisting, and allegedly tried to utilize his Taser.

At one point, both men appeared in the video to have their hands on the Taser, and the officer can be heard telling Lyoya to let go of it. After tumbling again to the ground, the officer allegedly gets on top of Lyoya and, with Lyoya face down, shoots him in the head.


Butler, who can be seen blurred out in the police videos, watched the encounter from outside his home, and said he understands why Lyoya appeared to ignore the officer’s order to return to his vehicle.

“I don’t condone it, but I do understand how someone can feel scared and not understand and be confused,” Butler said. “He made a mistake. And for his mistake, he paid with his life.”

“I knew it wasn’t going to end well,” Butler stated.

At a press conference held Thursday, Lyoya’s devastated family, joined by their attorney, Benjamin Crump, renewed their call for the officer to be fired and prosecuted.

Lyoya’s parents, Peter and Dorcas Lyoya, moved to the U.S. from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2014.

“When we run away from war in the [Democratic Republic of the Congo], I thought that I came to a safe land,” Dorcas Lyoya told reporters through an interpreter. “And now, I’m surprised and astonished to see that my son is shot here. That is my beloved son, and you know how you love your firstborn son.”

Patrick’s father, Peter Dorcas, said his life is over following the tragedy.

“What is making me cry more is to see my son killed by a police officer for a small, small mistake,” the bereaved father said. “My life has come to an end.”

According to Crump, the situation could have and should have been de-escalated by the officer.

“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.

“This officer failed to follow the basic training,” Crump continued. “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. When you look at him escalating the situation, [the officer] was the one being violent.”

On CNN, Crump later said, “This was a person who could have called for backup. It was a traffic stop. He had the car there. He had a passenger in the car. Patrick was in flip-flops when he was killed. You could see he was barefooted.”

On Wednesday, Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom was asked what officers are trained to do in situations such as these.

“Typically, the answer is that you’re trying to place him in custody. … You’re trying to secure that individual,” the chief replied.

“The follow-up question I’m sure will be, was the use of force in policy, and I’m not going to comment on that,” Winstrom said. “But the test is going to be whether, in the view of a reasonable police officer, whether that deadly force was needed to prevent death or great bodily harm to that officer.”

The graphic body cam footage, complete with warning,  is embedded below, so that you may form your own conclusions.


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