GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The city of Grand Rapids has been removed from a civil lawsuit filed by the family of a man who was shot and killed by a police officer last year.
A federal judge, meanwhile, denied ex-officer Christopher Schurr’s motion to dismiss. That means the excessive force suit against him will continue to move forward.
In his Monday ruling, Judge Paul Maloney said Patrick Lyoya’s family’s attorneys failed to provide facts to demonstrate a link between allegations of racial discrimination by the city and that the city failed to properly train its police officers and Schurr’s actions. But Maloney said the facts were there to support the family’s allegations against Schurr himself.
The civil lawsuit was filed by the Lyoya family in December. It alleges Schurr violated Lyoya’s Fourth Amendment protections against excessive force and of gross negligence and willful and wanton misconduct under state law.
In a February filing seeking to get the suit tossed, Schurr’s attorneys claimed he was protected by qualified immunity, which, generally speaking, prevents officers from being sued for actions they took in the line of duty.
While Maloney would not take a stance on whether Lyoya posed a threat to Schurr, he did agree that the lawsuit “plausibly pleads a constitutional violation” by Schurr.
“In sum, at this stage in the case, the Court cannot find that Schurr is protected by qualified immunity,” Maloney wrote.
His ruling indicated the qualified immunity question may be revisited as the case goes on.
Schurr shot and killed Lyoya on April 4, 2022, during a traffic stop in Grand Rapids. Video from the traffic stop shows Lyoya run away from Schurr and the two struggle over Schurr’s Taser. Ultimately, Schurr, who was on top of Lyoya trying to hold him down, shot him in the back of the head.
Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker charged Schurr with second-degree murder in June of last year. Schurr has argued self-defense but prosecutors argue his use of force was not reasonable. The criminal case is currently awaiting a hearing before the Michigan Court of Appeals, which should happen Sept. 6.