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People Attend The Wake And Funeral For Patrick Lyoya In Grand Rapids Michigan

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

The police officer who was involved in the high-profile shooting of Michigan resident and Congolese refugee Patrick Lyoya two months ago has been charged with second-degree murder by prosecutors.

On Thursday (June 9th), the prosecutor for Kent County announced that Grand Rapids, Michigan police officer Christopher Schurr was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Lyoya. In response to complaints about the length of time it took to make this charge, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said “he wanted to be thorough.” He informed Lyoya’s family before speaking to reporters. “These things take time,” he said at the press conference.

Lyoya, 26, was shot in the back of the head on April 4th during a traffic stop initiated by Schurr because the license plates on Lyoya’s car were registered to a different vehicle. It was reported that Lyoya didn’t comply with Schurr’s demands, and a possible language barrier might’ve contributed to the situation escalating. Lyoya ran from Schurr after a physical struggle, but Schurr managed to get him facedown onto the ground a short distance away, pulling out his firearm and shoot him in the back of the head. The incident was captured on video by the passenger in Lyoya’s car as well as the dashboard camera in Schurr’s cruiser. The officer’s body camera captured the incident, ending just before he fired the fatal shot.

Becker told the press that he told Eric Winstrom, chief of the Grand Rapids Police Department earlier in the week of his office’s intent to charge Schurr. Winstrom had previously said that he wouldn’t release Schurr’s name before charges were made in the case. Becker also said that the second-degree murder charge wouldn’t prevent the jury from considering charges of manslaughter, saying “they share the same elements”. If convicted, Schurr would face a possible sentence of twenty years to life in prison.