Whitmer weighs in on fatal shooting of Patrick Lyoya

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hinted there could be further action if the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office declines to charge Officer Christopher Schurr.

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.

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Grand Rapids Police released the name Monday of the officer who was captured on video fatally shooting Patrick Lyoya three weeks ago.

The department had withheld the name Officer Christopher Schurr following the shooting of Lyoya, a 26-year-old Black man and native of Congo. The Grand Rapids Police Department says Schurr, who’s said to be a seven-year veteran, is on paid leave, stripped of his police powers during the investigation.

Dr. Werner Spitz, a world-renown forensic pathologist and Wayne State University professor, concluded last week that Lyoya was shot in the back of the head by the officer while being restrained on his stomach.

Speaking at an event in Pontiac Monday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hinted there could be further action if the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office declines to charge Officer Christopher Schurr.

“Ultimately we don’t prosecute,” Whitmer says. “It is in the hands of the Kent County prosecutor and perhaps other agencies that might seek to do something but it will be out of our hands at that point.”

Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker, a Republican, has taken campaign money from a police union.

Whitmer says the Michigan State Police should be wrapping up their investigation into the shooting soon.

Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom’s announcement naming Schurr was a reversal. In the aftermath of the shooting and the release of video, Winstrom said he would withhold the officer’s name unless he was charged with a crime. It was described as a long-standing practice that applied to the public as well as city employees.

Lyoya’s family and Black leaders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton who spoke at Lyoya’s funeral on Friday, repeatedly called for transparency and release of the name.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Authors

  • Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He's been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.

  • Colin Jackson is a reporter for Michigan Public Radio Network.