Patrick Lyoya Credit: Family photo

In response to Rev. Al Sharpton’s demands, the Grand Rapids Police Department has released the name of the officer who fatally shot Patrick Lyoya during an April 4 traffic stop. Video from the stop showed the officer, Christopher Schurr, putting his gun to the back of the 26-year-old’s head as he faced the ground before firing. 

During a eulogy for Lyoya in Grand Rapids on Friday, delivered at the request of his family, Sharpton called on the police department to finally release his name. Today, he reiterated that call for justice. 

Christopher Schurr Credit: Grand Rapids Police Department photo

“Every time a Black man or woman is arrested in America, their name is immediately put out the news. But when this officer put the gun to the back of Patrick Lyoya’s head and decided to pull the trigger, his family had to wait three weeks to find out the name of the man who killed him. Transparency is the first step toward justice in Patrick Lyoya’s name, but it certainly isn’t the last,” said Sharpton, founder and President of the National Action Network (NAN). 

The findings of an independent autopsy released last week confirmed Lyoya died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head, something police had not yet confirmed. Forensic expert Werner Spitz found no other wounds on the Congolese immigrant’s body, indicating there was not a struggle before Schurr’s gun was fired. Schurr remains on administrative leave without any policing powers while the Michigan State Police conduct an investigation.

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