Michigan Police Officer Who Fatally Shot Patrick Lyoya Is Fired
The Michigan police officer charged with second-degree murder in the April shooting death of Patrick Lyoya has been fired, Grand Rapids officials said Wednesday.
Christopher Schurr, a seven-year veteran of the Grand Rapids Police Department, was fired Friday following a recommendation by the police chief and labor relations office, city manager Mark Washington said in a statement.
“Due to the on-going criminal matter and the potential for civil litigation, I will not be providing any additional comment concerning Mr. Schurr at this time,” Washington said.
Schurr’s termination, effective June 10, came one day after Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker charged Schurr with murder in Lyoya’s killing.
Schurr had been on administrative leave since the shooting.
An attorney for Lyoya’s family said the firing was overdue.
“It’s about time! The City of Grand Rapids should have fired Christopher Schurr on the day of the shooting, but instead, paid him for two months and waited for the Kent County prosecutor to make the decision for them,” attorney Ven Johnson told HuffPost in a statement Thursday. “Any police officer who uses excessive, unnecessary, and illegal deadly force should always be terminated immediately. This is something that the Lyoya family has requested since the day of the shooting.”
Lyoya, a Black man, was shot in the back of his head by Schurr, who’s white, following an April 4 traffic stop. Authorities said Schurr noticed the license plate did not match the vehicle.
Police body camera footage showed Schurr asking Lyoya, 26, for his driver’s license. That’s when things turned physical.
Lyoya attempted to run away, but Schurr stopped him and forced the struggle to the ground. Schurr attempted to shock Lyoya with a stun gun, but Lyoya grabbed it, authorities said.
Grand Rapids police Chief Eric Winstrom said the pair struggled over the stun gun for around 90 seconds, during which the device was deployed twice without making contact.
The officer’s body camera footage stopped working at this point, police said. Cellphone video taken by a passenger in Lyoya’s car captured Schurr saying “Let go of the Taser” before reaching for his gun and shooting Lyoya in the back of his head while on top of him.
The Grand Rapids Police Officers Association, the union representing city police officers, is backing Schurr, saying police officers have the legal right to protect themselves.
Schurr’s defense attorney declined to comment on the termination.