By Elizabeth Halvorson and Kaia Zimmerman
Eight days following the police shooting of Patrick Lyoya, the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) released graphic video of his death.
During a press conference on Wednesday, April 13, GRPD Chief Eric Winstrom explained to the audience that he wanted to release the video footage from the fatal shooting on April 4 as soon as possible to uphold transparency in the investigation.
Winstrom revealed footage from an in-car camera on the police vehicle, the body camera of the officer who stopped Lyoya, security footage from a nearby home, and cell phone footage from the passenger of the vehicle Lyoya was driving. Winstrom advised participants of the press conference that the video footage contained graphic content including the loss of life.
Lyoya, 26, was stopped by the GRPD for an alleged unregistered license plate. Right when the officer pulled Lyoya over, Lyoya immediately got out of his vehicle, so the officer shouted at him to get back into the vehicle and started to walk over to Lyoya.
Following a conversation between the two, Lyoya tried to move to the front of the car, so the officer grabbed him and a struggle ensued, and Lyoya attempted to run away. After another struggle, the officer then pulled out his taser to try and subdue him. Lyoya then grabbed the barrel of the taser.
The officer had Lyoya on the ground and both fought over the taser for about 90 seconds with the officer shouting for Lyoya to drop the taser before he drew his firearm. After demanding Lyoya drop the taser while holding his firearm to the back of Lyoya’s head, the officer pulled the trigger, killing Lyoya.
Following the showing of the video, Winstrom took questions from the press but declined to release the officer’s name.
“We don’t name suspects,” Winstrom said. “If the officer is charged with a crime, we will name him then.”
The officer was placed on paid leave and stripped of his police powers pending the outcome of the investigation.
Brandon Davis, Director of Oversight of Public Accountability (OPA), spoke at the press conference to discuss how the GRPD handled the aftermath of the incident.
“The chief made sure to notify me of the events of April 4 and welcome me to the scene in order to ensure that there was independent oversight monitoring the activity that was taking place,” Davis said. “Additionally, the chief ensured that the OPA had access to the videos of this incident… While monitoring this first phase of the investigation, I’ve noted items for us to consider to ensure that we do the best job possible of ensuring accountability and transparency moving forward.”
There were no protesters gathered at the GRPD station or city hall during the press conference.
The day before the videos were released, protesters gathered at the Calder Plaza outside city hall to demand justice for Lyoya. When asked about whether he anticipates and welcomes protests Winstrom said, “I support free speech 100%. Let your voice be heard. We love peaceful protest.”
Grand Rapids officials are expecting protests to continue throughout the week.
This is an ongoing story and the Collegiate will be giving updates as this story continues.