The family of a 26-year-old Congolese man who was fatally shot by a White Michigan police officer during a traffic stop is calling for justice and footage of the encounter to be released.
According to mlive.com, the fatal April 4 incident occurred after Patrick Lyoya was pulled over by a Grand Rapids police officer. Authorities said the license plates on the vehicle weren’t registered to it, adding that a fight later ensued before an officer fatally shot Lyoya.
The deceased man immigrated to the United States from the Democratic Republic of Congo with his family seven years ago to escape the violence in the Central African nation. On April 9, Lyoya’s family and hundreds of sympathizers held a march calling for justice for his death. They also asked authorities to release bodycam and dashcam footage of the fatal encounter.
“Patrick is my firstborn. He became like a brother to me,” Patrick’s father, Peter Lyoya, said. “Today, I don’t know what to do because I am confused. I want justice for Patrick.”
The deceased Black man is survived by two children. Lyoya’s father also said the incident has left the 26-year-old’s siblings devastated. “They’re not eating. They’re not sleeping,” Peter Lyoya said via an interpreter Israel Siku. “They question: where is our brother? They haven’t even seen the body and they can’t believe their brother has been killed.”
Following the fatal incident, the White police officer who shot Lyoya was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation. Protesters have also been calling on authorities to release the footage of the shooting. But Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker has told the police to withhold the footage and any other evidence until the investigation is concluded, mlive.com reported.
Peter Lyoya and Siku said Michigan State Police allowed them to watch cruiser dashcam footage of the incident this week. The grieving father and his interpreter said Lyoya was lying face down when the officer fatally shot him in the back of the head.
“I could not watch that video twice. I cried,” Siku said.
Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom said they should be able to release the footage on April 15. “I don’t want the video to be edited,” said Peter Lyoya. “I want people to see the way my son was killed. I want the entire world to see how my son was executed.”