Michigan police officer charged with killing Patrick Lyoya is fired

·National Reporter and Producer
·3 min read

The Michigan police officer charged with second-degree murder in the death of Patrick Lyoya has been fired, officials announced on Wednesday.

Officer Christopher Schurr, 31, was terminated from the Grand Rapids Police Department, City Manager Mark Washington said.

Washington said in a statement that Schurr waived his right to a hearing and was fired, effective last Friday, June 10.

Schurr pleaded not guilty after he was charged last week by Kent County prosecutor Christopher Becker. The former police officer turned himself in and was being held at the Calhoun County Jail. He spent one night in jail before being released after posting $10,000 of his $100,000 bond.

Christopher Schurr
Grand Rapids Police Officer Christopher Schurr in 2015. (Emily Rose Bennett/Grand Rapids Press via AP)

Lyoya, a 26-year-old Black man, was unarmed when he was pulled over on April 4 for an unregistered license plate, which the Lyoya family attorney, Benjamin Crump, called a minor traffic stop.

In footage captured on the dash and body camera, Schurr approached Lyoya, telling him to “get back in the car.” Instead, Lyoya closed the door and asked why he needed his information.

“Do you have a driver’s license, do you speak English?” Schurr asks in the footage. Lyoya opens the driver’s side door and asks the passenger in his car to get his license. While waiting for it, he closes the door and starts to walk away. That’s when Schurr pursues him.

Grand Rapids police officer pursuing Patrick Lyoya
Patrick Lyoya was shot and killed at about 8:10 a.m. on April 4, after what police said was a traffic stop. (Grand Rapids Police Department)

Cellphone video captured by the passenger in Lyoya’s car shows that after the struggle on the ground, Schurr failed to get Lyoya’s hands behind his back and instead, shot him in the back of the head, while Lyoya was facing the ground.

Lyoya had a revoked license at the time of the traffic stop. According to CNN, it was revoked in March because of a third substance abuse conviction in 10 years, public records show, and had three open warrants.

Grand Rapids Police Department Chief Eric Winstrom, who has only been on the job since March, recommended that the city suspend Schurr without pay and then eventually terminate him.

Patrick Lyoya
Lyoya being held on the ground after what police said was a traffic stop. (Grand Rapids Police Department)

“I recognize the impact this will have on a longtime employee and a friend to many at the Grand Rapids Police Department, but I think it is the right thing to do,” he said last week.

Back in April, Crump likened the shooting to the violence happening in Ukraine.

“Right now, our leaders in the United States of America, we are condemning Russian soldiers for shooting civilians in Ukraine in the back of the head. Why aren’t we condemning police officers here in the United States of America shooting unarmed Black civilians in the back of the head?” he asked.

Peter Lyoya
Peter Lyoya at the burial of his son Patrick Lyoya in Wyoming, Mich., on April 22. (Joshua Lott/Washington Post via Getty Images)

After Schurr was formally charged, Crump said: “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. While the road to justice for Patrick and his family has just begun, this decision is a crucial step in the right direction.”

Michigan’s civil rights agency responded to the shooting by renewing a request for an investigation by the Justice Department into the Grand Rapids Police Department, just one month after the new police chief took office.