GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Civil rights attorney Ben Crump says the murder charge against the police officer who shot Patrick Lyoya is about justice across the nation.
“The whole world will be watching West Michigan to see if Patrick Lyoya can get equal justice in the United States of America and in the courtrooms of Grand Rapids, Michigan,” Crump, who is representing Lyoya’s family, told News 8 in a Zoom call.
Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker announced Thursday he was charging Grand Rapids Police Department Officer Christopher Schurr with second-degree murder in the April 4 shooting of Lyoya during a traffic stop.
Crump said the video of the shooting is the evidence a jury needs to convict Schurr.
“(Lyoya) is running away. He is retreating from (Schurr). There is no reason to use deadly force and shoot him in the back of the head, blowing his brains out. No reason to do that,” Crump said.
He said the way Lyoya died “shocked the conscience.”
“Like so many of my cases, you take cases that just shock your conscience. I can’t take every one of them. We get 500 calls a day. But like my personal hero Thurgood Marshall, he took cases that shocked his conscience. And I take the same pattern to select the cases I’m going to represent and fight for,” Crump said. “It certainly shocks everyone’s conscience as you watch it unfold. This traffic stop, it’s a misdemeanor. You’re thinking worst-case scenario, he runs away. The officer’s got the car, he got the tag. But certainly no one would imagine that it would rise to the level of deadly force for a minor traffic stop. That doesn’t happen to everyone in America. It seems to happen most commonly to Black people in America.”
When asked if the charging decision was a win, Crump responded
“A win would be Patrick being here today,” he said. “Being able to live out the destiny that God has for him. But what today is a step in the right direction. There’s no guarantee that justice will be had, but it’s at least a step in the right direction.”