A police officer who was arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a black man at a traffic stop has pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder.
Christopher Schurr, 31, is accused of shooting and killing Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, after an altercation at a traffic stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
In Michigan, the charge of second-degree murder comes with a maximum sentence of life in prison with the possibility for parole.
Schurr appeared for his arraignment on Friday via video link from the county jail, wearing an orange jumpsuit.
Lyoya’s family approved of the charges for Schurr.
‘We strongly believed there was no justice in America, until today,’ Lyoya’s father Peter told reporters. ‘What I want is the final justice for my son.’
An autopsy conducted on Lyoya concluded that Schurr Ki**ed him with a gunshot to the back of the head.
Ben Crump, an attorney for Lyoya’s family, called the encounter ‘an execution’. Crump, a civil rights attorney, has represented the families of many high profile police shootings, including George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.
‘The death was not justified or excused, for example, by self defense,’ Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said on Monday.
In a video released in April, Lyoya can be seen standing outside his car asking ‘What did I do?’ He began to run after Schurr repeatedly asked him for his driver’s license. Lyoya had been driving with a revoked license.
Schurr caught up to Lyoya and struggled with him on the ground. At one point, Lyoya appeared to reach for Schurr’s Taser.
Schurr wore a body camera, but it was dislodged before it could capture the shooting. Much of the incident was captured on phones by bystanders.
Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom said he would recommend that Schurr be fired. Schurr has been on leave since the shooting.
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