GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — On January 1, 2009, 22-year-old Oscar Grant was at Fruitvale Station in Oakland, California, around 2 a.m., when a BART transportation police officer shot and killed him. His death was one of the first to be recorded by cell phone.
Civil Rights attorney Ben Crump said when he heard about Patrick Lyoya’s case, it reminded him immediately of Grant’s.
“You should not be sentenced to death over a traffic stop,” Crump said. “The fact that this harkens back to Oscar Grant’s tragic killing is something I just couldn’t believe. It shocked my conscience. I thought we had gotten beyond this, that police officers were trained better than this.”
Crump, who’s represented the families of George Floyd, Jacob Blake, and Grand Rapids native Breonna Taylor, spoke to a large crowd at Renaissance Church of God in Christ - Family Life Center. Dozens of community members, clergy, and city officials, including Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, were in attendance.
Civil Rights Atty Ben Crump: We’re here for “truth and transparency” for Patrick Lyoya, the man shot and killed by police last week in Grand Rapids, family/officials say.— Lauren Edwards (@LaurenEdwardsTV) April 10, 2022
He says the person who recorded the deadly shooting was abiding by the first amendment. // @FOX17 pic.twitter.com/uTDdkxC8Lh
“I’m glad [Bliss and City Manager Mark Washington] were here, not taking sides of the police or the community," said Kent County Commissioner Robert Womack. "But letting this community and family know that they share the pain that the family is going through as human beings."
Womack said he worked hard to get Crump involved. He sent emails, made phone calls, and used his connections from people across the country to get Crump’s attention.
“The family has retained our law firm to help them get justice and that first starts with truth [and] transparency. That’s how we get the justice,” Crump said. “As the young people say in the chant ‘Say no more, just show the video.’ We have to have that video released no matter how painful it is because there’s a mistrust in the community.”
Police said on Monday morning April 4, 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya was pulled over near the intersection of Nelson and Griggs. They said once he stepped out the vehicle he attempted to run away, a lengthy struggle ensued, and then he was shot and killed.
The family, who are Congolese and speak Swahili, said it happened differently.
“I don’t know how to put it,” said Israel Siku speaking to the crowd. “I saw the video. I could not sleep. The word he used was execution style. The boy was on the floor. The cop has the knees, pull out the gun, and shoot him in the head, and back up.”
Siku, the family’s interpreter and spokesman, demonstrated how it happened while speaking at the podium. The crowd gasped.
Chief Eric Winstrom said last week he’ll release the video no later than Friday April 15. The family, Womack, and Crump said they’ll be waiting for its release and hoping the officer is prosecuted.
“The long-term goal is to make sure that all of our children get home to us safe,” Crump said. “We want the police to get home to their families safe. And, we want our children to get home to us safe.”
How we got here:
Man shot, killed by officer during traffic stop in Grand Rapids
Man identified in Grand Rapids officer involved shooting
Family demands answers, remembers life of man killed in GR officer-involved shooting
GRPD Chief on delaying release of video: this is not a cover-up
Kent County prosecutor: GRPD can share video of officer-involved shooting without his approval
‘I’m bleeding. I’m hurt:’ Father wants video of deadly officer-involved shooting released
Hundreds march against killing of Patrick Lyoya by a Grand Rapids police officer
Vigil held for Patrick Lyoya, man who died after being shot by GR police officer
Nat'l and local leaders hold forum after man died after being shot by GR officer