GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Attorneys for the former Grand Rapids police officer who shot and killed Patrick Lyoya last year have filed a request in federal court, looking to get the wrongful death lawsuit against him thrown out.
In a motion to dismiss filed Monday, Christopher Schurr’s attorneys argued he is protected by qualified immunity, which, generally speaking, prevents officers from being sued for actions they took in the line of duty.
Lyoya’s family sued Schurr and the city of Grand Rapids in December, alleging excessive force and a violation of Lyoya’s Fourth Amendment rights when he was shot April 4, 2022, after Schurr pulled him over. The lawsuit argued it was “objectively unreasonable” for Schurr to have shot Lyoya.
Schurr’s attorneys say that his actions were reasonable. They argue he didn’t violate Lyoya’s Fourth Amendment protections and that because it has not been demonstrated to the court that Schurr’s actions were unconstitutional, the lawsuit should be tossed.
“Schurr is entitled to qualified immunity because the videos demonstrate that Plaintiff cannot plead a constitutional violation nor a violation of clearly established law,” the motion reads in part, referencing body camera, dashboard camera, home surveillance and cellphone video that show the shooting.
That video shows that Lyoya ran away from Schurr during the traffic stop and the two then grappled over Schurr’s Taser, with Schurr repeatedly ordering Lyoya to let go of it. Schurr was on top of Lyoya trying to hold him down when he pulled his gun and shot him once in the back of the head, killing him.
“…Lyoya posed an immediate threat to the safety of Ofc. Schurr once he armed himself with the Taser,” Schurr’s lawyers wrote.
Lyoya’s family’s attorneys have until March 6 to respond to the motion to dismiss. They are expected to oppose it, Schurr’s lawyers wrote.
Schurr has been charged with second-degree murder in Lyoya’s death. A Kent County judge last week said she would not dismiss the charge and ordered the case sent to a jury. An appeal on the criminal front is expected and attorneys on both sides are skeptical the case will go to trial in March, as had initially been scheduled.