Updated Dec 7, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Family of Patrick Lyoya sue city of Grand Rapids and former cop

Activists gathered and marched during a protest against the killing of Patrick Lyoya, who was killed by a Grand Rapids police officer

A protest against the killing of Patrick Lyoya in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on April 16. Photo: Katie McTiernan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The family of Patrick Lyoya, a Black man fatally shot by a white police officer in April, filed a civil lawsuit on Wednesday against the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the former police officer involved in Lyoya's death.

Driving the news: An independent autopsy revealed that Lyoya was fatally shot in the back of the head by ex-police officer Christopher Schurr after a traffic stop.

The big picture: The lawsuit contains both state and federal counts, attorney Ven Johnson said during a press conference Wednesday.

  • The first count alleges that Schurr used "unnecessary illegal excessive force," Johnson said.
  • The second count is against the city of Grand Rapids. "We will prove that the policies and practices of the city of Grand Rapids as it relates to the use of excessive force actually lead to Schurr utilizing excessive force," Johnson said.
  • Between June 2015 and May 2020, 79 citizen complaints for excessive use of force were lodged against Grand Rapids police officers, Johnson said, adding that all but two officers were "exonerated or otherwise cleared."
  • The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is investigating complaints of racial profiling with disparate treatment from Grand Rapids police officers, Johnson pointed out.
  • A third count alleges gross negligence and wanton misconduct on Schurr's part. "Schurr's actions demonstrated a reckless lack of disregard of his legal duties as well as a substantial lack of concern for whether death of injury would result from his actions," the lawsuit stated.

What they're saying: "When you take driving while Black plus excessive force, you end up with Patrick Lyoya being unjustly executed by this Grand Rapids police officer," attorney Ben Crump said at the press conference.

  • "The pain is so deep," Patrick's father, Peter Lyoya, said during the press conference when speaking of his son's death.
  • "I just want to say thank you for all the work that they're doing, because they're fighting hard for me to get justice for Patrick," he added, addressing the attorneys on the case.

What's next: A date has not yet been set for Schurr's trial, but a status hearing is scheduled on Dec. 15, per NBC News.

Editor's note: This story is developing and will be updated.

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