Patrick Lyoya fatally shot in the head by police officer following traffic stop

A recently released video shows Patrick Lyoya been fatally shot by a police officer in the head following a traffic stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan on April 4th.

The father of two was stopped for driving with a license plate that did not belong to the vehicle.

The 26-year-old got out of the car before the officer approached but was ordered to get back in the vehicle, in which Patrick declined.

The officer demanded his driver’s license and asked him if he spoke English. Lyoya responded “yes” and said the license was in the vehicle.

A foot chase began after Lyoya closed the car door and started walking. The officer told Lyoya to “stop” and tried to pull his hands behind his back.

In the released video, Patrick Lyoya could be seen running, eventually the police officer had Patrick face down on the ground and shot him in the head. The seven-year police veteran is now on paid leave while state police investigate the shooting.

Patrick lived in Grand Rapids and had  two young children and visited Lansing on weekends and would spend money on his five siblings.

Peter Lyoya, Patrick’s father, said that he came to the United States to get away from civil unrest in Congo.  He took his six children from Congo in 2014 to escape violence. Now he fears he brought them to the U.S. to die.

Lyoya’s mother, Dorcas, told reporters that she thought the family was in a safe place after leaving Congo and was “astonished to see that my son has been killed with (a) bullet.”

“That was my beloved son. You know how you love your firstborn son,” she said through an interpreter.

Lawyer for the Lyoya family, attorney Ben Crump said It is an unjustifiable use of deadly force because the police escalated a traffic stop into an execution.”

Crump said the officer could have waited for backup once Lyoya ran but instead got “violent.” He accused him of not following proper training by using the Taser while close to Lyoya, saying it was Lyoya’s “natural instinct” to try to stop from being stunned.

Because the Taser was fired twice, it was ineffective without being reloaded, Crump said.

“There was no reason for him to have any intimate fear of the Taser being used against him,” he said of the officer.

As in many U.S. cities, Grand Rapids police have been occasionally criticized over the use of force, particularly against Black people, who make up 18% of the population.

Several hundred protesters gathered outside the Grand Rapids Police Department following Wednesday’s release of the videos. The demonstration remained nonviolent.