On Thursday, Christopher Schurr, a Grand Rapids Police police officer was charged with one count of second-degree murder in the death of Patrick Lyoya, who was shot in the back of the head during a traffic stop, CNN reported.
Back in April, Lyoya, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and immigrated to the United States in 2014, was pulled over by Schurr for having an unregistered license plate. Lyoya got out of the car and ran as Schurr attempted to pursue him. During the struggle, Schurr wrestled him to the ground and seemed to be struggling to regain his taser.
As the confrontation continued, footage of the incident showed Schurr lying on Lyoya’s back before he appeared to shoot him in the back of the head.
Lyoya’s death sparked protests throughout Grand Rapids, Michigan, where relations between Black residents and police officers are historically strained.
Kent County Prosecuting Attorney Christopher Becker spoke to reporters after the charges against Schurr were filed.
“This is not a message,” he said in a statement. “This is just based on the facts and making a decision in this case.”
Ben Crump, who’s representing the Lyoya family, also released a statement calling the decision by the prosecution “a step in the right direction.”
“We are encouraged by attorney Christopher Becker’s decision to charge Christopher Schurr for the brutal killing of Patrick Lyoya, which we all witnessed when the video footage was released to the public,” Crump said.
“Officer Schurr must be held accountable for his decision to pursue an unarmed Patrick, ultimately shooting him in the back of the head and killing him—for nothing more than a traffic stop,” he added.
Dana Nessel, Attorney General of Michigan, lauded the state police and Becker for “the exhaustive review conducted these last two months.”
“We must now respect the judicial process and allow the facts of the case to be presented in court,” he added.
Schurr has turned himself in and is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday.