“Justice For Patrick.”
“Justice For Patrick.”
Dozens of people stood outside of the 61st District Court chanting those words, as Christopher Schurr’s preliminary hearing was going inside.
“How long do you sit down and wait for somebody else to stand up,” said activist Erykai Eaves. “So with that being said these people that are out here are out here for justice for Patrick, for his babies, for people who look like Patrick. I don’t know if you heard us but a minute ago we said ‘We don’t want to say another name.’ We’re tired of saying names.”
Patrick Lyoya was shot and killed during a traffic stop on Nelson and Griggs back on April 4. Nine days later, the bodycam footage and other videos were released which captured the shooting death.
Immediately protests broke out in Grand Rapids and across the state. They continued until Schurr with second-degree murder in June.
“We practice our freedom of speech. We practice our freedom to assemble and use nothing but our words,” Eaves said. “There’s not violence we’ve taken no lives. But many of us have been prosecuted. We are now facing trial, whether it be misdemeanors or felonies. And, were’ still out here. This is not something that is a fly by night. This is not something that we look for, for media attention. We’re out here because it’s personal to us.”
For Eaves, it’s very personal.
Back in March 2020, her cousin Breonna Taylor, who’s from Grand Rapids, was shot and killed by police during a botched raid in her home in Louisville. Her death gained nationwide and international attention around the same time that George Floyd’s murder did.
“As you can see the back of my jacket, Breonna Taylor is a family member of mine. And I take her everywhere I go,” Eaves said. “When Breonna and George happened I was out here protesting. And we made it point to make it known that if they continue the way they were going, that we here in Grand Rapids we’ll lose someone as well. Unfortunately we were right. And nobody wants to be right on things of that nature.”
Eaves continues to mourn Taylor’s death. And in honor of her, she’ll continue to fight for justice for others, including Patrick Lyoya.
“I don’t know about you but I’m pretty sure you heard of ‘good trouble.’ I’m always a fan of good trouble,” Eaves said. “So, if you’re going to associate this group with any kind of trouble let that be clear: it’s good trouble.”