GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids City Commission meeting abruptly went to recess Tuesday night due to protests.
Demonstrators protesting the death of Patrick Lyoya gathered in downtown Grand Rapids at Rosa Parks Circle before marching to the city commission meeting Tuesday.
During public comment allowed for downtown improvements, several protesters took to the podium to steer the conversation back to Lyoya. After swear words and cheering from the crowd continued, Mayor Rosalynn Bliss closed public comment on the project.
Later, during a portion of the meeting where people from the public are allowed to comment on any topic, dozens of people took the podium calling for accountability from city leaders.
“Somebody’s son died and I feel like, everybody feels like, y’all are moving a little slow,” one man said.
Several others took the podium after him to also share their frustrations with the investigation.
“I am outraged, just like the youth, who are out there crying. Why? because of the senseless violence that is perpetuated in this city and in this nation,” said one woman.
“You guys are put in these positions to take care of the problems but you’re not being successful with doing that. So, we’re going to come here every time we have an opportunity and speak on it, and I hope that we keep y’all here. If it was up to me y’all would be here for the next 24 hours,” said another woman.
Several of the speakers got very passionate as tensions remain high. After one woman repeatedly used profanity at the podium during her remarks, her mic was cut off. She then turned and spoke directly to Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom, who was in the back of the room listening to the meeting. The room began cheering and getting loud as people got out their seats. That’s when Bliss ended the meeting.
From there, people began approaching city commissioners at the dais, yelling and airing their grievances about Grand Rapids police policies and the way investigators have been handling the Lyoya case. Several commissioners left shortly after the face-to-face confrontations began. Protesters, at this point, were standing in the front of city commission chambers.
Demonstrators broke into chants, shouting, “Whose city? Our city! Whose streets? Our streets!” At one point, protesters used a megaphone to list their demands. They said they want GRPD Officer Chris Schurr to be fired, arrested and charged.
They also called for GRPD to get its own liability insurance and for Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker to recuse himself from the case.
Additional police officers were brought into city commission chambers as protesters started to gather facing Winstrom and continued chanting.
The shooting happened April 4 after Schurr pulled Lyoya, 26, over on the city’s Southeast side. Video released by GRPD shows that there was a struggle that included Lyoya grabbing Schurr’s Taser. Schurr, who was atop Lyoya as the two struggled, shot him once in the head, killing him.
Winstrom confirmed the name of the officer Monday. GRPD generally does not release the names of employees under investigation nor the names of people who have not been charged with a crime, but Winstrom said he did it in this case “in the interest of transparency, to reduce on-going speculation, and to avoid any further confusion.”
News 8 typically does not name suspects before they are charged and arraigned. We are releasing Schurr’s name in this case because GRPD did so in light of this high-profile case.
— News 8’s Rachel Van Gilder contributed to this report.