Patrick Lyoya’s death sparks new and old questions about law enforcement

Detroit’s former police chief says the incident further calls into question who police departments recruit to become officers.

The Grand Rapids Police Department Headquarters is barricaded on April 12, 2022, prior to the release of video related to the killing of Patrick Lyoya.

The April 4th police killing of Grand Rapids resident Patrick Lyoya poses questions about law enforcement that are both new and painfully familiar.

“The reality is that the mindset hasn’t changed.” — Ike McKinnon, former chief of the Detroit Police Department

A Grand Rapids police officer shot 26-year-old Lyoya in the back of the head after a traffic stop that resulted in a scuffle. It’s the latest in a long string of police killings of unarmed Black men that have resulted in protests and calls for police reform or abolition.

Listen: What we know about the killing of Patrick Lyoya.



Bryce Huffman is a reporter and producer for Bridge Detroit who previously covered the city of Grand Rapids. His reporting focuses on policing of Black and Brown communities.

“A lot of people in Grand Rapids… they’re tired of it, they want the department to be held accountable, they want the officer to be held accountable… so there’s a lot of anger and frustration and just heartbreak,” says Huffman.

Ike McKinnon is the former chief of the Detroit Police Department and also served as the city’s deputy mayor. He spent many years as a DPD officer, including during the 1967 uprising.

“When you see what occurred in Grand Rapids and throughout the county, have things changed? Well, to a certain extent because we have more minorities (in police departments). But the reality is that the mindset hasn’t changed, which to me is the most important aspect of this. Who are we recruiting to be law enforcement officers?”

Related: Ike McKinnon Shares Stories of Racism in 1960’s Detroit Police Department

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