Ex-Officer Who Fatally Shot Patrick Lyoya Will Face Murder Trial: Judge

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A former Michigan police officer will face a jury in the death of Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old Black man who was tackled, shot, and killed after he fled from a routine traffic stop.

On Monday (October 31), Kent County Judge Nicholas Ayoub ruled that ex-Grand Rapids officer Christopher Schurr will stand trial for the April 2022 shooting of Lyoya, which prompted weeks of protests earlier this year, per CNN.

“Factual questions remain as to whether the defendant reasonably believed that his life was in imminent danger or that he was in imminent danger of suffering great bodily harm, and that deadly force was reasonably necessary,” Ayoub said Monday.

On April 4, 2022, Schurr attempted to arrest Lyoya, a father of two and refugee from the Republic of the Congo, for having an unregistered license plate. After the then-officer asked for his license, Lyoya fled on foot.

Schurr chased after Lyoya, tackled him on the lawn of a nearby residence, kneeled on him, and drew his Taser. Lyoya then put his hands on the officer's gun, which prompted Schurr to draw his service weapon and shoot him in the back of the head.

Schurr was fired from the Grand Rapids Police Department in June following the Kent County Prosecutor’s office charging him in Lyoya's death.

Capt. Chad McKersie, the commander of the Grand Rapid Police Department’s training unit, defended Schurr’s actions on Friday (October 28) despite his termination, saying that the former officer didn't break the department's policies.

“He went through the use of force options to the best of his ability,” McKersie testified during the state’s examination. “There was no training policy or procedure violations regarding the use of force.”

McKersie told defense attorney Mark Dodge that Schurr was terminated due to his criminal charges and not because he explicitly did anything wrong.

Schurr faces a single charge of second-degree murder, Ayoub said Monday. He has pleaded not guilty.

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