GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WLNS) – A Grand Rapids police officer is in jail tonight after being charged with the second-degree murder of a Black man who was shot during a traffic stop in April.
The announcement from Kent County Prosecutor Christopher Becker comes months after Michigan State Police launched an investigation into the shooting of Lyoya.
He said it was critical to conduct a thorough review of the case before any charges were filed
“I made the decision to charge Christopher Schurr with one account of second-degree murder,” said Becker.
Becker announced the charge in a packed room.
“Taking a look at everything I reviewed in this case, there is a sufficient basis to proceed on a single count of second-degree murder and that charge has been filed,” he said.
Across the state in Detroit, the family of Patrick Lyoya watched. His father, Peter, said the charge comes with a small amount of relief after two months of waiting and expecting nothing.
Family attorney Ven Johnson said the charge is a step toward accountability.
“That there is no excuse whatsoever for Patrick being shot in the back of the head. Unfortunately, many people in our society believe, contrary to Michigan and United States law, that if you resist arrest, the officer can do anything they want to you up to and including kill you,” said Johnson.
Expert reactions are similar. David Carter, Michigan State University Criminal Justice Professor and former police officer, reviewed body camera video with 6 News back in April. He called Thursday’s decision fair.
John Johnson, Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights said what really matters next is a wider change in law enforcement.
“We recognized that though there was a charge brought in this instance, this really won’t have a tremendous change on law enforcement until there’s a culture change,” Johnson said.
With the trial ahead, demonstrators in Grand Rapids are now calling for a conviction.
“while second-degree murder is something I don’t think its enough,” said Grace Powers, a demonstrator marching through downtown Grand Rapids.
Lyoya’s family called for peace and calm ahead of the trial. Schurr is expected to appear in court to face the charge sometime Friday.