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Video: Michigan cop on Black man's back, fatally shot him

Grand Rapids Police Department Chief Eric Winstrom (center) shortly before presenting video of the shooting of Patrick Lyoya during a critical incident briefing on Wednesday, April 13, 2022.
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The City of Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids Police Department Chief Eric Winstrom (center) shortly before presenting video of the shooting of Patrick Lyoya during a critical incident briefing on Wednesday, April 13, 2022.

A Michigan police officer struggling with a Black man over a Taser pulled out his gun and fatally shot him in the head while the motorist was face down on the ground, according to videos of the April 4 confrontation released Wednesday.

Patrick Lyoya, 26, was shot outside a house in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The white officer repeatedly demanded that Lyoya “let go” of the officer’s Taser. At one point, he said, “drop the Taser!”

Police Chief Eric Winstrom released four videos, including cellphone footage recorded by a passenger in the car driven by Lyoya on the rainy morning.

“I view it as a tragedy. ... It was a progression of sadness for me,” said Winstrom, a former high-ranking Chicago police commander who became chief in March.

Video shows Lyoya running from the scene after an officer stopped him for driving with a license plate that didn’t belong to the vehicle. They struggled on the front lawn of a few homes in a Grand Rapids neighborhood while Lyoya’s passenger got out and watched.

City Manager Mark Washington warned that the videos would lead to “expressions of shock, of anger and of pain.”

The chief declined to release the officer’s name.

“I’m going to treat the officer like I would anybody else,” Winstrom said. “We don’t name suspects. If the officer is charged with a crime we will name him at that time.”

More than 100 people marched to Grand Rapids City Hall before a City Commission meeting Tuesday night, chanting “Black lives matter” and “No justice, no peace.”

Winstrom last week said he met Lyoya’s father, Peter Lyoya, and that they both cried.

“I get it as a father. ... It’s just heart-wrenching,” the chief told WOOD-TV.

Kent County’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Stephen Cohle, said he completed the autopsy on the day of Lyoya’s death, but that toxicology results haven’t been completed. He said the full report would not be released until state police complete an investigation.

“This is the standard operating procedure,” Cohle said.

As in many U.S. cities, Grand Rapids police have been occasionally criticized over the use of force, particularly against Black people, who make up 18% of the population.

In November, the Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments in a lawsuit over the practice of photographing and fingerprinting people who were never charged with a crime. Grand Rapids said the policy changed in 2015.

A downtown street has been designated Breonna Taylor Way, named for the Black woman and Grand Rapids native who was killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky, during a botched drug raid in 2020.

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