GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Members of the Grand Rapids community are making their voices heard the day after Patrick Lyoya, who was shot and killed by a Grand Rapids police officer, was laid to rest.
Around 3 p.m. on Saturday, people started gathering at Veterans Memorial Park downtown, writing things like “Justice for Patrick Lyoya” on the sidewalk with chalk. They handed out water bottles and prepared to march.
Organizers originally planned to gather at Rosa Parks Circle but moved the start of the march to Veterans Memorial Park due to several other events happening downtown.
Breonna Taylor’s cousin, Daevionne Smith, was among the protesters Saturday calling for justice for Patrick Lyoya.
“Justice for me is changing the whole system, not just the Grand Rapids Police,” Smith said.
He lives in Grand Rapids and says the first step to justice is charging the officer who shot and killed Patrick.
“We need to put as much light on them (the police) as we can, because they are not right. Now, if you’re right, if you’re a good officer, you’re a good officer. But if you’re not, you need to be booted out. You’re a threat to society. And they need to be treated just as if we was a threat to society,” Smith said.
Marchers carried signs that said, “Black Lives Matter,” and “no justice no peace.” Some wore shirts with Patrick’s face on them. When the group reached Breonna Taylor Way at Monroe Center, Taylor’s cousin led a chant in her honor.
“Bree-way,” they sang out as Smith wrote “Justice 4 Breonna Taylor 3.13.20 Bree Wayy” on the ground in chalk.
The street was renamed in 2020 for Taylor, who was a Grand Rapids native and was killed by police in 2020 in Louisville.
“These are our people,” Smith said. “We are tired. We need justice for all of our people, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, all of the victims that we have lost.”
Smith led the way as the dozens of demonstrators marched through downtown Grand Rapids.
Tyrin Clover II has been at many of the protests since the video was released showing Lyoya’s death.
“We’re doing this for justice for all the stolen lives that have been taken by the Grand Rapids Police Department and police, period,” Clover II said.
At one point, demonstrators blocked a five-way intersection at Monroe Avenue and Pearl Street.
The crowd was smaller than last Saturday’s protest, when more than 500 people marched through the streets.
As they have many times since the killing, demonstrators chanted Justice for Patrick.
“Justice for Patrick is liberty,” Clover II said. “It’s overall liberty and peace for him and his family. He was executed.”
Smith wants more people to join them.
“We need our people down here,” he said. “Stop being fearful to come out and lift your voice.”
On Friday, funeral services were held for Lyoya. During the eulogy, civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton called on the hundreds of people assembled to demand justice and national police reform.
Twenty-six-year-old Lyoya was shot by an officer with the Grand Rapids Police Department on the morning of April 4 on Nelson Avenue north of Griggs Street on the city’s Southeast side.
The video released by the Grand Rapids Police Department shows that there was a struggle that included Lyoya grabbing the officer’s taser. The officer, who was atop Lyoya as the two struggled, shot him once in the head, killing him.
Michigan State Police are investigating the shooting. The agency released a statement Friday morning saying its detectives are working carefully to make sure everything is in order.
“Detectives are taking every measure to ensure all evidence and facts are accurately collected and documented. We recognize the importance of this investigation, and we are sensitive to the need to complete it in as timely and efficient of a manner as possible. As with any investigation, gathering all the facts and documenting every piece of evidence takes time and we appreciate the patience of the community as we work to conduct a thorough and complete investigation,” the statement read. “Once detectives finalize their report, it will be forwarded to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office for review. There is no timeline on when this will occur.”
The Kent County prosecutor will decide whether the officer’s use of force was justified or whether charges should be issued.