NewsShooting death of Patrick Lyoya


Forensic pathologist reveals Lyoya shot in back of head

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Posted at 3:46 PM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 20:06:55-04

DETROIT, Mich. — National Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump returned to Michigan on Tuesday morning to reveal the findings of an autopsy report on the body of Patrick Lyoya. Crump and Attorney Ven Johnson requested that renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Werner Spitz conducted an autopsy, independent of the one done by Kent County.

Tuesday, the attorneys stood alongside Dr. Spitz and said in a press conference that 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya died by a single gunshot wound in the back of the head.

“You may recall during the press conference with the police it was asked ‘Was he shot in the back of the head?' I think the chief [Winstrom] said, ‘All I can say is he was shot in the head.' He can’t tell you whether he was shot in the back of the head,” Crump said at the podium. “Well, today, based on scientific evidence we can confirm that Patrick Lyoya was shot in the back of his head.”

GRPD said Lyoya was fatally shot during a traffic stop near the intersection of Nelson and Griggs on the morning of Monday, April 4 and that it happened after a lengthy struggle.

Last Wednesday on April 13, GRPD released videos, including body cam video, of the incident. The attorneys said there was no fighting.

“You’ve done thousands of autopsies,” said Johnson to Dr. Spitz. “If a person were engaged in an ongoing, highly physical assault with another person, would you expect to see bruising, rib fractures, cuts on the hands, face and knees?” 

“Yes,” the doctor said.

“Did you see any of that here?” Johnson asked. 

“No,” he said. 

READ MORE: Jimmy Barwan remembers Patrick Lyoya not as a friend but as his brother

Dr. Spitz, who’s worked on cases from President John F. Kennedy to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., noted that Lyoya suffered an entrance wound but not an exit wound. He said he died instantly from impact.

Dr. Spitz used large poster-board drawings to illustrate what that looked like. He also demonstrated on the back of Crump's head.

“This area here, right there,” Dr. Spitz said pointing to the lower back of Crump’s head, “is a bullet wound of entrance, a typical bullet wound of entrance. And, it went like this.”

Dr. Spitz then angled his pointer tool to show the direction the bullet traveled. He said the bullet was lodged between the skull and the skin because of the skin’s elasticity.

“I think it’s important to have scientific evidence so we can quell people’s disbelief that this was real, that he really was shot in the back of his head,” Crump said in an interview after the press conference. “And it confirms what his family says from day one that their son was shot execution style.”

The attorneys were also questioned about the officer and his identity. Johnson said he knew who he was but did not comment further.

However, they said they’re going to continue to investigate every aspect of the case, including the videos and if this was a case of racial profiling.

“When you have video that is this strong, that is this clear, whatever, if there’s other video, I certainly can’t wait to see it,” Johnson said in an interview with FOX 17 after the presser. “But in terms of what exactly happened at the end, it’s very clear what happened.”

Friday is the funeral. It’s scheduled for 11 a.m. at Renaissance Church of God in Christ. The family said that Rev. Al Sharpton will do the eulogy.

The attorneys said their only goal is to bring the family justice.

"We hope that there’s accountability, that there’s justice,” Crump said. “This will hopefully prevent tragedies like these from happening in America, especially to marginalized minorities that it seems to happen to disproportionately.”

READ MORE: Michigan Department of State condemns killing of Patrick Lyoya

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