GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Lawmakers and leaders from across Michigan are reacting to Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker’s announcement that he has charged a Grand Rapids police officer with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Patrick Lyoya.
Officer Chris Schurr, who shot Lyoya in the back of the head during a skirmish following a traffic stop, turned himself in to the Calhoun County Jail at 1:48 p.m. today. If found guilty, Schurr would face up to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel was one of the first to take to social media to comment on Becker’s decision.
“At the Department of Attorney General, we understand the exceptional resources needed to evaluate police-involved shooting deaths and I commend Prosecutor Becker, his team and the Michigan State Police for the exhaustive review conducted these last two months. We must now respect the judicial process and allow the facts of the case to be presented in court.”Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel
State Sen. Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, also commended Becker’s decision and said Lyoya’s death illustrates the dire need for police reform.
“We must change our systems when it’s clear they do not protect everyone equally. Since this shooting, I have listened to people across the district, parents worried about the world their children are growing up in, and communities who feel their concerns are not being heard. Patrick’s family left a country of violence and corruption yet walked into one where he was shot in the back of the head in someone’s front yard. We cannot accept this violence as a normal way of life. When our laws don’t protect everyone, they must change.”State Sen. Winnie Brinks
In a statement, Michigan Democratic Party chair Lavora Barnes called the decision to press criminal charges “the first step toward justice.”
“Mr. Lyoya’s death was senseless and avoidable, and our criminal justice system must hold officers like Christopher Schurr accountable for needlessly taking a life and betraying the trust of Grand Rapids citizens. I hope that full justice is served for the Lyoya family and applaud community members for their even-tempered support.”Lavora Barnes
The Michigan Legislative Black Caucus called the decision “a step in the right direction.”
“It’s just the beginning. Lyoya’s family and the community deserve to see accountability. It’s evident that change is required and should be demanded to prevent the violent police response that led to Patrick Lyoya’s murder.”The Michigan Legislative Black Caucus