GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Nationally-known civil rights attorney Ben Crump participated in a community conversation held Sunday in the wake of the shooting death of a man by a Grand Rapids police officer.
"You should not be sentenced to death over a traffic stop," Crump said to Fox 17 after the event. "The tragedy that this young man was killed unjustly and unnecessarily, when he already conceded...he was face down."
Patrick Lyoya died after what police say was a lengthy struggle on Monday, April 4 near the intersection of Griggs Street and Nelson Avenue.
"A Community Conversation" forum was held Sunday at Renaissance Church of God in Christ in the Family Life Center at 1001 33rd St. SE, Grand Rapids. The event was live streamed on Fox 17's Facebook page.
The event featured local and national leaders including Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump, Kent County Commissioner Robert Womack, Brandon Davis of the Grand Rapids Office of Oversight and Accountability, Cle Jackson of the Local NAACP, Pastor Israel with the Congolese Community, and pastors from the Grand Rapids community.
Lyoya's family attended the event. They are being represented by attorney Ben Crump during the legal process.
Crump's law firm posted on Twitter Sunday that Crump plans to "demand justice and call for all video evidence to be released."
"Every Black family lives in fear that a routine traffic stop will turn deadly. Patrick's fate is the nightmare we live with every day. It is essential that all video evidence be made public as soon as possible so that we can see with our own eyes and hear with our own ears what happened to Patrick. Full transparency is the only way to regain community trust," Crump stated in a prepared statement.
Lyoya's father told the crowd that he wants the release of video so that everyone can see what happened to his son.
Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom told FOX17 Lyoya ran from the officer, and then struggled with that officer when the officer caught up to him. Investigators say the officer shot Lyoya during the struggle.
However, Lyoya’s family has disputed that account. According to Lyoya’s father and the family’s interpreter, video they were shown of the shooting depicts the officer shooting Lyoya in the back of the head while lying face down on the ground.
Video of Lyoya’s killing has yet to be released to the public, although in a statement on Friday, Winstrom said the video would be release no later than April 15 at noon. The officer has not been named.
"We have to have that video released, no matter how painful it is, because there's a distrust in the community," Crump said.
How we got here:
Man shot, killed by officer during traffic stop in Grand Rapids
Man identified in Grand Rapids officer involved shooting
Family demands answers, remembers life of man killed in GR officer-involved shooting
GRPD Chief on delaying release of video: this is not a cover-up
Kent County prosecutor: GRPD can share video of officer-involved shooting without his approval
‘I’m bleeding. I’m hurt:’ Father wants video of deadly officer-involved shooting released
Hundreds march against killing of Patrick Lyoya by a Grand Rapids police officer
Vigil held for Patrick Lyoya, man who died after being shot by GR police officer