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Grand Rapids Police Being Investigated After Officer Shoots and Kills Man at Traffic Stop

April 13, 2022

Video of Patrick Lyoya Shooting Released to the Public

A deadly shooting occurred on April 4th on Nelson Avenue north of Griggs Street on the Southeast side. A GRPD officer pulled over Patrick Lyoya at about 8am when he saw that the license plate on the car he was driving didn’t match the vehicle.

Promising transparency and a comprehensive investigation, the Grand Rapids Police Department has released a video that shows an officer pulling over Lyoya and an ensuing struggle between them that results in the officer shooting and killing Lyoya.

The GRPD played a total of four videos at a press conference, including footage from a dashboard cam, a body cam, a doorbell camera, and a bystander’s cellphone.

Here’s What the Videos Show

The videos show Lyoya exiting his vehicle immediately after he was stopped. He was instructed by the police officer to get back in the car, but Lyoya didn’t. The officer then asked Lyoya if he had a license, and Lyoya appeared to not understand the question. The officer then asked him if he spoke English, and Lyoya said he did. The officer requested his driver’s license, and Lyoya asked what he’d done wrong. The officer told him that the plate didn’t match the car and again asked for his license.

At that point, Lyoya opened the driver’s side door of the car and asked someone inside for his license. It’s not known if the passenger could located his license, but Lyoya closed the door without retrieving it.

When Lyoya stepped away, the officer tried to stop him. He ran, and the officer gave chase, reporting what was happening on his radio. A struggle of several minutes ensued in the front yards of houses. The officer tried to apprehend Lyoya, but he resisted and attempted to get to his feet.

The officer then called for back-up.

The video shows the officer telling Lyoya to “stop” and “stop resisting.” The officer then drew his Taser, which Lyoya tried to grab as it went off.

GRPD Chief Eric Winstrom said he believed that the Taser was deployed twice but didn’t hit Lyoya, with both charges hitting the ground.

The officer can be heard telling Lyoya numerous times to let go of the Taser in a doorbell surveillance video. Another video shows the officer pull his gun as he tells again Lyoya to let go of the Taser. One gunshot is fired moments later. The officer is then seen backing away from Lyoya and reporting the shooting on his radio.

City Manager Makes Statement

At a press conference at City Hall, City Manager Mark Washington called it a “very sad day for our city, our state and our country.”

“Unfortunately, I’m here today because our city is now added to the list of cities across the country where another African American has died as a result of the use of the use of force with the interaction of law enforcement,” Washington said.

The City Manager offered condolences to the Lyoya family, as did Chief Winstrom and Brandon Davis, the director of the city Office of Oversight and Public Accountability. Washington also acknowledged the toll of the event on law enforcement.

“This is also a very difficult time for the member of our police department and the officers specifically as they process this very regrettable event in which a life has to be taken in enforcement of the law,” Washington said.

Police Chief New to Position but Promised Transparency

Winstrom has been the police chief in Grand Rapids for just over a month. He said a commitment to transparency is why he and city leaders decided to release the video now.

“We have an outside agency looking into this incident. It’s the Michigan State Police. Generally speaking, when they complete their investigation is traditionally when videos like this would be released,” Winstrom said. “We felt that on balance it was more important to be transparent with the community to provide what information the Grand Rapids Police Department has immediately before that process is finished.”

Davis said that his agency is keeping an eye on the internal investigation from GRPD.

“When a life, particularly the life of a Black man is lost during an interaction with law enforcement, there’s a great deal of emotion frustration and anger,” Davis acknowledged. “As an oversight professional, it is important that our review monitor and audit all investigations impartially based on law and policy and I will do that.”

Davis went on to remark, “(GRPD’s internal affairs) investigation will be monitored by the Office of Oversight and Public Accountability. We will audit that investigation. We will seek transparency. We will seek truth,” Davis said. “Justice requires that this matter be handled fairly and efficiently. The Lyoya family and all the parties involved deserve a fair and transparent investigation. As the director of OPA, I will do everything in my power to make sure that that happens.”

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