Thursday, April 18

Police release name of Grand Rapids officer who fatally shot Patrick Lyoya

Grand Rapids — Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom on Monday released the name of the officer who shot and killed Patrick Lyoya on April 4.

“In the interest of transparency, to reduce ongoing speculation, and to avoid any further confusion, I am confirming the name already publicly circulating — Christopher Schurr — as the officer involved in the April 4 Officer Involved Shooting,” Winstrom said in a statement.

“Beginning this week, as required by law, the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) will be releasing documents in response to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act relative to this incident.”

Schurr remains on administrative leave, without police powers, while Michigan State Police investigate, he said.

Lyoya’s family, their attorneys and community groups like the ACLU of Michigan had been urging the department to release Schurr’s name, noting that the names of Black criminal suspects are routinely released to the media.

“It took them three weeks to the day of the shooting to release his name,” Lyoya family attorney Ven Johnson said Monday. “The family had to bury (Lyoya) without knowing the name of the man who ended his life.

“Grand Rapids police said they were going to be 100% transparent, but being transparent doesn’t mean hiding information you’ve had since moments after the shooting happened,” Johnson said. “That’s the exact opposite of transparent.”

Patrick Lyoya

During Lyoya’s funeral on Friday, the Rev. Al Sharpton demanded authorities publicly identify Schurr. He said it was unacceptable that the officer’s name would be released only if he’s charged with a crime, which had been the previous position of the city.

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He said police routinely release the names of Blacks suspected of crimes.

“You put their name all over the news,” he said. “Every time we’re suspected of something, you put our name out there. How dare you hold the name of a man that killed this man.”

Protesters march through downtown Grand Rapids near the police department during a demonstration held after videos of the shooting of Patrick Lyoya, by a Grand Rapids police officer on April 4, were released to the public on April 13, 2020.

Sharpton, who gave the eulogy, also demanded the US Justice Department investigate the shooting, which is now being handled by the Michigan State Police.

“This step toward transparency must continue throughout the investigation,” the ACLU of Michigan tweeted Monday. The ACLU, along with the Greater Grand Rapids NAACP, LINC Up and the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center continue to call for a prosecutor outside Kent County to review the case and for the Department of Justice to investigate.

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