LANSING, Mich. — The death of Patrick Lyoya made local and national headlines since the fatal shooting happened on April 4.
On that Monday morning, he was fatally shot by a Grand Rapids police officer during a traffic stop, police said. Over a week later, GRPD released videos of the shooting. This week, a private autopsy — arranged by the Lyoyas’ legal team, which includes attorneys Ben Crump and Ven Johnson — revealed that the 26-year-old father was shot in the back of the head by the officer.
Thursday, Black Lives Matter Michigan held a rally for Lyoya outside the Capitol building in Lansing. Chapters from Kalamazoo, Flint and Benton Harbor were in attendance. Members of the Congolese community and other activists were there, along with Kent County Commissioner Robert Womack, who's been by the family's side since the shooting occurred.
Thursday, protesters marched to the state capitol steps and demanded systemic change within law enforcement. Their chants come after a Grand Rapids police officer shot and killed the 26-year-old after a traffic stop.
"We have to come out in force and show them that we're not going to lay down in acceptance. You see, and that's the key thing. We cannot accept what's going on," said one protester.
The 26-year-old Congolese immigrant's story has the nation’s attention after being shot and killed by a GRPD officer more than two weeks ago.
"This is tremendous. This is huge. Just to see people coming together for something like this. This is awesome. You know, and this is what we are supposed to be doing," said one protester.
Patrick's family, who live in Lansing, was up front listening just as many asked for accountability in their son's death.
"Even though his death has happened, I see that even though he die, you can see the peace going around because that was his nature," Peter Lyoya said through the family translator.
GRPD has given the investigation to Michigan State Police, which is normal for an officer-involved shooting. At this moment, no charges have been filed against the officer.
"I'm asking for everybody to come together to fight for the justice for Patrick," the father added.
He said at the podium that when he heard about the fatal shooting, he called Ben Crump, who was at the White House at the time, and asked him to take on the case.
“Even coming out of a worn-torn country in the Congo, being a Black man in America he still had a great sense of humor,” Womack said about Patrick Lyoya during an interview with FOX 17. “He was a dance instructor that taught many the Congolese tradition of dance. And he always had a smile on his face.”
Lyoya’s funeral is scheduled for at 11 a.m. on Friday at Renaissance Church of God in Christ. Rev. Al Sharpton is scheduled to do the eulogy.