Oct 31, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Ex-officer who killed unarmed Black man to stand trial for murder

Photo of a protester holding a sign that says "Justice 4 Patrick"

Supporters and family members of Patrick Lyoya participate in a rally in front of the Michigan state capital building on April 21, 2022 in Lansing, Michigan. Photo: Scott Olson via Getty Images

A Michigan judge ruled Monday that ex-police officer Christopher Schurr must stand trial for shooting and killing an unarmed Black man during an April traffic stop.

Driving the news: Judge Nicholas S. Ayoub said there is probable cause to try Schurr for second-degree murder in the death of Patrick Lyoya, who was 26. His killing — and footage that showed Schurr lying on Lyoya's back before shooting him in the head — led to protests in Grand Rapids.

What they're saying: "There is little doubt that [Lyoya's] death was caused by the gunshot wound to the head inflicted by defendant," Ayoub said in an opinion that was read in court.

  • "The clear depiction of the incident in the video strongly infers that defendant knew he was pointing the gun and firing it at close range to [Lyoya's] head, which, in turn, is sufficient to establish probable cause to conclude that defendant acted with malice."
  • "The only real debatable question here is whether defendant’s actions were justified under the law," Ayoub noted.

"This decision is the next step in our pursuit for obtaining FULL and complete justice for Patrick Lyoya," attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Lyoya's family, tweeted after the ruling.

  • "We will continue to fight to ensure former Ofc. Schurr and the City of Grand Rapids are held accountable for his actions."

Go deeper: Videos show Michigan police officer fatally shooting Black man

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