Protests, confrontations with police continue in Michigan after black suspect shot by officer in struggle for taser

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Protests have been ongoing in Grand Rapids, Michigan over the fatal police shooting of a black suspect, Patrick Lyoya, who’d fled from the police, allegedly grabbed hold of the apprehending officer’s taser and then refused to release the taser.

The protests first erupted Wednesday after the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) released bodycam video footage of the shooting.

“Community members in Grand Rapids gathered downtown at Rosa Parks Circle after authorities released the video that shows Patrick Lyoya’s shooting death. The group marched downtown to the Grand Rapids Police Department headquarters to make their voices heard,” according to local station WZZM.

The marchers were originally peaceful, to their credit.

Watch:

The protest grew louder and more disruptive as the evening arrived.

Watch:

The protests continued Thursday, albeit with far fewer people reportedly showing up.

“Protesters gathered in downtown Grand Rapids Thursday to call for justice in the death of Patrick Lyoya. … A few dozen people gathered in Rosa Parks Circle around 5 p.m. Several people spoke in a megaphone calling for change,” local station WOOD reported.

“Protesters then walked down to the Grand Rapids Police Department, while shouting, ‘Justice for Patrick.’ Demonstrators gathered outside the GRPD headquarters around 6:15 p.m. The protest, which had grown to around a few hundred people, then moved back to Rosa Parks Circle, before wrapping up around 7:15 p.m.”

Again the marchers were peaceful, to their credit.

Watch:

As previously reported, a GRPD officer fatally shot Lyoya during an April 4th traffic stop that began and ended with the deceased man disobeying direct police orders.

Bodycam footage from the encounter shows Lyoya, who was pulled over for an unregistered license plate, immediately jumping out of his vehicle despite the officer telling him to remain inside.

After explaining the purpose of the stop and confirming that Lyoya spoke English, the officer then asked for his license plate. Lyoya, who’s standing outside of his car, asked his passenger to retrieve it, but the passenger failed to find it.

Lyoya started to walk to the other side of the car, prompting the officer to tell him to stop. He refused to listen, and so the officer attempted to tackle him, spurring him into trying to flee.

A struggle ensued during which the officer unsheathed his taser and tried to use it, only for Lyoya to grab hold of the device and then refuse to let go.

The two eventually wound up on the lawn of a residence, with the officer on top shouting “stop,” and Lyoya continuing to struggle and resist.

“Let go of the taser! Let go of the taser. Drop the taser!” the officer screamed at one point, before retrieving his gun from his side and firing one shot into the back of Lyoya’s head.

Watch the full encounter below (*Graphic content):

As is typical in these cases, Lyoya’s family has begun calling for “justice” and recruited notorious attorney Ben Crump to their case. Crump has previously represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and George Floyd.

During a press conference Thursday, Crump argued that a shot to the back of the head shouldn’t have been the outcome of a simple traffic stop.

“It was a traffic stop. Think about it. This wasn’t a felony offense. This wasn’t even a moving violation. It was a tag, an inappropriate tag allegedly. I mean, when you think about all the things he could have done to avoid shooting Patrick in the back of the head …,” he said.


(Video: WOOD TV8)

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