National News from ABC

Patrick Lyoya family’s attorney says release of officer’s name is ‘too little, too late’

Scott Olson/Getty Images, FILE

(GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.) -- Nearly three weeks after Patrick Lyoya was killed, the Grand Rapids police chief on Monday identified the officer who fatally shot Lyoya as Christopher Schurr.

Lyoya, a native of Congo, was shot in the head on April 4 after Schurr pulled him over for an unregistered license plate. Video footage of the incident shows Schurr struggling with Lyoya, eventually forcing him to the ground and shouting, "stop resisting," "let go" and "drop the Taser," before shooting Lyoya.

While Grand Rapids attorney Ven Johnson and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who are representing the Lyoya family, have been calling for the name of the officer to be released since the day Lyoya was killed, now that it's happened, Johnson said knowing the name does little to console the family.

"Our clients literally buried their son Friday. ... This doesn't do a whole lot, and it's something that should have been done at the time when they released the videos," Johnson told ABC News, adding that Lyoya's parents "feel like they're getting red tape after red tape after red tape."

Chief Eric Winstrom had refrained from releasing the name of the officer as the investigation was ongoing, arguing the city has a long-standing policy not to release the names of employees under investigation.

"How dare you hold the name of a man who killed this man?" civil rights activist Al Sharpton said at Lyoya's funeral in Grand Rapids on Friday. "Every time a young Black man or woman is arrested in this town, you put their name all over the news. Every time we're suspected of something, you put our name out there."

Winstrom released a statement Monday saying he decided to identify Schurr "in the interest of transparency, to reduce ongoing speculation and to avoid any further confusion."

While the name has been released, Johnson said it's "too little, too late."

"They hid the name of this officer who killed my client for three weeks, and yet as part of their press release, they say this is in the spirit of transparency," Johnson told ABC News. "Well, if I said to you, I'm gonna be transparent with you, but I'm gonna hide material facts ... for three weeks, they will look at me and say, just, that's not fair."

After Schurr’s name was released, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer released a statement saying the investigation should be wrapping up "quickly" and said her "heart is with the Grand Rapids community."

While no charges have been filed against Schurr, Johnson said his team is prepared but hopes the state will do better in the future for preventing these events.

"In Michigan, we have a lot of hard work we need to do," Johnson said.

Schurr is currently on administrative leave and has been stripped of all his police power as the investigation continues. ABC News was not able to reach an attorney for Schurr.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Advertise Here

Download Our App

Listen With Alexa

WXHC.com Archives