The union that represents police officers serving in a Michigan city is taking the side of the officer who fatally shot Patrick Lyoya in the back of the head.
While the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association called Lyoya’s death “tragic,” it added that an “officer has the legal right to protect themselves and community in a volatile dangerous situation such as this, in order to return to his/her family at the end of their shift.”
At the same time, a City Commission meeting ended rather abruptly on Tuesday night as residents used expletives and expressed their anger over Lyoya’s death. Police Chief Eric Winstrom observed the event from the back of the room. “Whose city? Our city! Whose streets? Our streets!” people yelled.
Twenty-six year old Lyoya was killed by Officer Christopher Schurr at the conclusion of a short foot chase and physical struggle that took place after a traffic stop in Grand Rapids on April 4.
Lyoya was lying on the ground as Schurr ordered him to take his hands off the officer’s Taser, as can be seen and heard in a video of the incident. Schurr informed Lyoya that he had pulled the vehicle over because the license plate did not match the car.
In a Facebook statement, the union said that it “stands with Officer Schurr and will continue to give him and his family whatever support they need.” But Lyoya’s family wants Schurr to be fired and additionally charged with crimes. State police are currently investigating the incident.
Earlier on Tuesday, Winstrom told a community forum that he would like to emphasize officers knowing how to deescalate situations during moments of high tension. Some experts have said Schurr should have stopped trying to subdue Lyoya when he resisted.
“I guarantee that we can do more,” Winstrom commented. “Actually, that’s one of the things I’ve already reached out to my colleagues to say, ‘Hey, I need some curriculum, because we are going to beef it up.’”
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: STANDARD.NET