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GR Mayor speaks after death of Patrick Lyoya, asks community to trust the process

Posted at 6:14 PM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-11 18:14:14-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Michigan State Police say they have not yet had the opportunity to question the officer who shot and killed 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya.

Lyoya died Monday, April 4th, after what Grand Rapids Police has said was a "lengthy struggle" during a traffic stop.

Family of Lyoya has seen dash camera and body camera video of the incident. They say the video shows Lyoya being shot in the back of the head.

That video has not been made public. FOX 17 has not seen it.

Neither has the mayor of Grand Rapids.

“It is going to be painful to watch," said Mayor Rosalyn Bliss. "It is going to be heartbreaking. It’s going to invoke a lot of emotions. Including anger. Trauma. And I fully recognize that. I brace for that myself."

Mayor Bliss met with FOX 17 one-on-one on Monday. She shared that this past week has been a difficult one.

After getting to meet with the Lyoya family Sunday, Bliss says the family has not left her thoughts or prayers.

"They lost a loved one and are grieving, they're in a lot of pain right now," Bliss said. "My heart goes out to them. Not knowing the details of what happened last Monday, it's hard to know what's next. Until we have all the facts."

The Lyoya family has retained renowned Civil Rights attorney Ben Crump after the death of Patrick.

Crump has represented the family of George Floyd, as well as Breonna Taylor civilly. Both Floyd and Taylor's cases resulted in multi-million dollar settlements for the families.

Bliss says, most importantly, now is a time to reflect. She says the Office of Oversight and Public Accountability is closely monitoring this case, to see if any policy changes or procedural changes need to happen as a result.

Bliss points out, that right now, there are a lot of unknowns.

“We made a decision that when incidents like this happen, we have a third party investigation," Bliss said. "So those are processes that we put in place. When we have a critical incident, and officer-involved shooting, that it would be a third party, Michigan State Police, who would come in and do the investigation."

“This is a process that we talked about and worked through with the community. Now that we’re in this tragic situation, we have to make sure we give that process the time it needs to do the investigation."

Bliss says she knows tomorrow's City Commission meeting will include lots of people wanting to make their voices heard during public comment. She says the Commission is prepared to be there to listen.

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