GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — On Monday, Israel Siku was with Patrick Lyoya’s family when they went downtown to GRPD headquarters to try and get answers about an officer-involved shooting, he said.
“[The father] wants the video to be released. He wants the people to know the truth,” Siku said. “They are portraying Patrick like a criminal. It was more concern about the well-being of his son.”
That morning, 26-year-old Patrick died due to the shooting, police said.
The family is Congolese and their native language is Swahili. Siku is also from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and serves as the interpreter of the 700-plus Congolese community in West Michigan.
He said the family, on Monday, asked GRPD to speak to Chief Eric Winstrom but was told he was unavailable.
That was until Kent County Commissioner Robert Womack went to the station to meet them. That same day they were able to meet with the chief, he said.
On Wednesday, Siku and Patrick’s father watched the dash camera video of the incident.
Siku said the father “cried like a little kid."
As a father, Siku said he could not sleep that night.
“Patrick was face down laying on the floor, and the officer was on top of him with his knees,” said Siku, who is also a spokesman for the family. “Without hesitation, he pulled out the gun and shot him on the back of the head.”
Grand Rapids police told FOX 17 earlier this week that Patrick was pulled over on Griggs and Nelson early Monday morning during a traffic stop. They said when he got out he tried to run away, and a lengthy struggle ensued before Patrick was shot and killed.
Siku and the family said they dispute this account.
“The boy did not move. It was here. ‘Pop,'” Siku said, pointing to the back of his head with his right hand pointer finger. “There was no struggle. No.”
Fox 17 has not seen the video. Commissioner Womack said there’s a few videos of the incident. He corroborated what Siku said.
“All of us know that this video is very damaging. I believe that when we tell the community ‘Yes, you’re going to be shocked with what you see,’ but we need to let you know that we have to let the justice system play out,” Womack said. “We’re begging you and asking you not to resort to violence. They’re asking for peace. The family’s asking for peace. But the father wants the video out.”
Womack has also been vocal on his social media page about the incident. He said he's gotten threats to his job and life.
However, Womack said he’s determined to help the family seek justice.
“The police department didn’t do this. One individual is a part of this. We just have to be transparent. And, I'm going to stand and be transparent,” he said with tears in eyes and his voice cracking. “No matter what it costs.”