NewsShooting death of Patrick Lyoya


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

Patrick Lyoya protest in downtown Grand Rapids
Patrick Lyoya protest in downtown Grand Rapids
Patrick Lyoya protest in downtown Grand Rapids
Patrick Lyoya protest in downtown Grand Rapids
Patrick Lyoya protest in downtown Grand Rapids
Posted at 6:10 PM, Apr 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-15 05:46:28-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Protests in downtown Grand Rapids continued Thursday after the Grand Rapids Police Department released video depicting the shooting death of Patrick Lyoya.

Watch the protest here:

Jimmy Barwan spoke to us in Swahili — the native tongue of his best friend, 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya — saying that the Lyoya family wants swift justice for their son.

Barwan and Lyoya, both Congolese natives, were inseparable for almost a decade.

“Every single thing we did, we did it together,” says Barwan. “It's been a tragedy for all of us. It hurts. It really hurts."

Barwan knew Lyoya during his nine years in the United States until Lyoya's killing at the hands of a GRPD officer on the morning of April 4, following what police say was a struggle during a traffic stop.

“We left Africa to come here, to feel safe,” says Barwan. “Imagine being with somebody and the next day they're not there no more. Somebody that meant so much to you … a role model."

Barwan has been in constant contact with the Lyoya family ever since Patrick's death. He says Lyoya's father, who he referred to as his own father during our interview, was shown another angle of the police killing that wasn't played in a public presentation Wednesday.

“And he stated this: ‘Please … talk to your people and let them know that's not the video that I saw,’” Barwan quoted. “’I want to see the right video.’”

“We just want to keep bringing attention to this situation,” says Aly, a local activist who helped organize protests against Lyoya's killing. She says as far back as 2020, groups had been calling for reform inside GRPD.

“We told our city officials something like this is going to happen if you don't do something about the police department,” says Aly. “And now look. We were right. And we don't want to be right in these situations."

Barwan says Lyoya was a father of two young girls, with one of them barely a year old. Barwan wants more to be done. He wants any more evidence that exists to be made public, and for that police officer to be fired.

“It really disgusts me,” says Barwan, “the fact that he's chilling at home getting paid when you know you took the life of somebody."

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