Grand Rapids Community College’s President Pink released a statement regarding the Grand Rapids Police Department’s shooting of Patrick Lyoya. His statement comes a little over an hour before the GRPD are set to release video footage of the shooting.
The shooting occurred on the morning of April 4. in Grand Rapids. Lyoya, a 26-year-old immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was confronted by police for an alleged unregistered license plate. He reportedly ran from officers upon discovering that he would be arrested for the offense.
In the ensuing struggle, he was shot and killed by officers of the GRPD. Now, Pink has released a statement regarding Lyoya’s death.
Pink sent out a message to faculty and staff Wednesday afternoon expressing his condolences to the family and community.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Patrick Lyoya, but also for our entire community and country,” Pink stated. “We need peace, we need answers, and we need each other. My prayers continue in this regard.”
Pink also wanted to remind the GRCC community about campus resources available to anyone affected by the event.
“Please let our students know that our campus counseling staff are available if they need to speak to someone,” Pink stated. “Our Employee Assistance Program also is available if needed, and information is available through Human Resources.”
For students concerned about postponements or delays regarding classes and campus events, Pink wishes to remind students that the situation is ongoing.
“The coming days will be hard on our community as we are again reminded that we still have work to do,” Pink stated. “We will stay vigilant as a college, as I still believe that we are a part of the answer for our community, and in so many ways. Thank you for your commitment.”
While GRPD plans to release footage of the shooting at 3 p.m. today, local faith leaders had already held a press conference last night addressing the shooting.
Kent County Commissioner Robert Womack was joined by local faith leaders at MLK Park to speak on the upcoming video release.
“We want justice,” Womack said. “But we are looking for justice through peaceful measures. We are looking for justice in a way that will honor the memory of Patrick Lyoya and honor his family from the Congolese who ran from violence, who ran from a territory of destruction, looking for the pursuit of happiness in America, right here in the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and found their son slain.”
Womack was quick to remind the community that there is still a process in place for occurrences like this, and he hopes that the community will continue to follow his lead in waiting for justice to be served correctly.
“We want this community to understand that the wheels of justice will be rolling,” Womack said. “We want him to be charged, and we want to make sure that the nation watching and Grand Rapids gives both the family and the officer the opportunity to go to court and iron out these details.”
Still, Womack expects the video footage to be equal parts damning and disturbing.
“ …you will see a video that is going (to be) horrific, if you ask me,” he said. “Very horrific. It’s going to be heartbreaking, it’s going to move you to emotion, but we ask you to still be intellectual as you join us looking for peace for the Lyoya family.”
Jerry Bishop of LifeQuest was next to speak, asking for peace, justice and change from the people and police of Grand Rapids and America as a whole.
“Now we’re asking you to trust us when we make a plea to you, all of Grand Rapids, that in the hours to come with the release of this horrific video, that now this is our time to be a world class community with no violence, no vandalism, no injuries,” Bishop said. “We’re angry, we’re hurt, we’ve been here before.”
Bishop drove home the point that senseless violence cannot be met with more of the same, and would, in no way, serve to honor Lyoya’s memory.
“We’re asking, we’re praying, we’re pleading with you, that in the hours and days to come, stand down on the violence and stand down on the vandalism,” Bishop said.
With the GRPD set to release the footage at 3 p.m. today, the city waits in anticipation to further inform themselves on the details of the shooting.