Michigan police chief ID’s police officer who shot Patrick Lyoya

Christopher Schurr is the office who shot the 26-year-old motorist after a traffic stop

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A Michigan police chief reversed course Monday and publicly identified the officer who fatally shot Patrick Lyoya in the back of the head during an April 4 traffic stop.

The Grand Rapids officer is Christopher Schurr, Chief Eric Winstrom said.

Lyoya, 26, a Black man and native of Congo, was killed after a struggle with the white officer.

“In the interest of transparency, to reduce ongoing speculation, and to avoid any further confusion, I am confirming the name already publicly circulating — Christopher Schurr — as the officer involved in the April 4 officer-involved shooting,” Winstrom said in a statement.

Patrick Lyoya’s mother, Dorcas Lyoya, reacts during the funeral for her son at the Renaissance Church of God in Christ Family Life Center in Grand Rapids, Mich. on Friday, April 22, 2022 (Cory Morse/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)

The Associated Press left a phone message seeking comment from Schurr, who remains off the job while state police investigate the shooting.

Winstrom’s announcement was a reversal. In the aftermath of the shooting and the release of video, Winstrom said he would withhold the officer’s name unless he was charged with a crime. It was described as a long-standing practice that applied to the public as well as city employees.

Lyoya’s family and Black leaders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, repeatedly called for release of the name.

“We want his name!” Sharpton shouted at Lyoya’s funeral on Friday, saying authorities cannot set a precedent of withholding the names of officers who kill people unless the officer is charged.

Lyoya, who was unarmed, was face down on the ground when he was shot. Schurr was on top of him and can be heard on video demanding that he take his hand off the officer’s Taser.

A forensic pathologist who conducted an autopsy at the family’s request said the gun was pressed to Lyoya’s head when he was shot.

Deandre Jones leads chants through a megaphone during a march through downtown Grand Rapids, Mich., on Saturday, April 23, 2022. (Daniel Shular/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)

Ven Johnson, an attorney for the family, said it’s important that Lyoya’s parents now know Schurr’s name, though he scoffed at the police chief’s use of “transparency.”

“It’s not transparent when you hide something for three weeks. It’s quite the opposite,” Johnson said. “It’s cops taking care of the cops instead of treating it like a normal investigation.”

After Lyoya’s funeral, Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington acknowledged the demand for the officer’s name and said he would discuss the matter with Winstrom and city employment officials.

“Police reform requires evaluating many long-standing practices to ensure our actions are consistent with the best interests of the community and the individuals involved,” Washington said last week.

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