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Kent County medical examiner releases statement regarding Patrick Lyoya's autopsy

Patrick Lyoya Picture 5.png
Posted at 1:22 PM, Apr 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-13 13:22:29-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Kent County chief medical examiner released a statement regarding the autopsy of Patrick Lyoya on Wednesday.

Chief Medical Examiner Stephen D. Cohle, M.D., said he completed the autopsy of Lyoya with a member of the Michigan State Police present during the exam. Cohle says this is standard operating policy.

Cohle says the death certificate with the cause and manner of death has been prepared but toxicology and tissue test results are pending. Those results could take up to 60 days to receive, but Cohle says he’s requested the results be expedited.

Once those results are in, Cohle says the full autopsy report will be complete but it won’t be released to the public until MSP finishes its investigation into the deadly shooting of Lyoya.

You can read Cohle’s full statement below.

My office understands that the families we work with are grieving. We strive to ensure every family is treated with dignity and respect and is supported with compassion and honest information to help them make appropriate arrangements. I have personally spoken with Mr. Lyoya’s father (via interpreter), and my office stands ready to assist him with the release of his son's body when the family has reached a decision on the arrangements.

Several concerned community members have recently raised questions regarding the autopsy of Mr. Patrick Lyoya and the family’s opportunity to view his body. I wanted to take this opportunity to clarify the policy and procedures of my office.

My office is mandated by State Statue to determine the cause or manner of death, to answer additional questions about the death and often to collect evidence. This procedure provides crucial evidence to criminal justice agencies and the public. Deaths that come under the jurisdiction of my office include, but are not limited to, sudden and unexpected deaths, accidental deaths, and violent deaths.

On April 4, 2022, I completed the autopsy of Mr. Lyoya. A Michigan State Police Officer was present during the exam, which is standard operating policy. A death certificate with the cause and manner of death was prepared, but toxicology and tissue test results are pending with our contracted laboratory. The turnaround time for these results is up to 60 days; however, we requested these results be expedited.

The full autopsy report will be completed as soon as the toxicology and tissue test results are received, but the report will not be publicly available until the Michigan State Police concludes its investigation. This is the standard operating procedure to ensure the integrity of the investigative process.

Family viewing of bodies is not permitted at our facility as we are not equipped to provide the privacy family members need in these circumstances. This does not mean the family loses the ability to view Mr. Lyoya; rather, the viewing is postponed until his body can be transferred to a funeral home. We notified Mr. Lyoya’s family on April 5, 2022, that his body was available to be released to the funeral home of their choosing.

Additionally, the family of Mr. Lyoya may seek out an independent autopsy. On April 5, 2022, I offered to provide the family with a list of agencies that can provide private autopsy services. My office will fully cooperate with any board-certified forensic pathologist conducting an independent autopsy, if the family notifies us that they would like us to release Mr. Lyoya’s body to one of these agencies.

Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old Black man, died Monday, April 4 following a traffic stop near the intersection of Griggs and Nelson on the city's southeast side. Lyoya was the driver of the vehicle. A passenger was also in the vehicle at the time.

Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom told FOX 17 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.

Grand Rapids police say the officer was wearing a body camera. It fell off during the struggle, but GRPD says the camera was still on the scene and activated.

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

FOX 17 has not reviewed any of the video footage and cannot verify the claims.

The Grand Rapids Police Department plans to release it during a news conference scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday.

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 for Patrick Lyoya, man who died after being shot by GR police officer
National and local leaders hold forum after Patrick Lyoya shot and killed by GR police officer
Civil Rights attorney Ben Crump calling for police video of Lyoya’s death to be released
Barricade goes up around Grand Rapids Police Headquarters
Group marches to Grand Rapids City Commission meeting
People demand answers at GR City Commission meeting following Lyoya death
Shooting death of Patrick Lyoya: a timeline of events

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