GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As the community awaits the release of the body camera footage of a police officer shooting and killing 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya on Monday morning in Grand Rapids, City Manager Mark Washington defended the city’s response.

He said the city is being transparent.

“We want to get to the bottom of what’s going on,” Washington told News 8 on Thursday afternoon. “We’re not hiding anything. That’s evident by the fact the family has been very involved early on in being informed of what’s going on and has more insight than a normal member of the public.”

An undated photo of Patrick Lyoya courtesy family.
An undated photo of Patrick Lyoya courtesy family.

The shooting happened in the area of Griggs Street and Nelson Avenue SE. Police say an officer performed a traffic stop on Lyoya, and he ran off. The officer soon caught up, there was a “lengthy fight” and the officer shot and killed Lyoya, according to Police Chief Eric Winstrom.

Michigan State Police are investigating the shooting, which is standard procedure any time an officer uses deadly force. The officer is off the job for now, also standard procedure.

Washington also addressed the concern of unrest returning to Grand Rapids, like the city saw two years ago in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.

“I do not anticipate a reaction like 2020 that was happening around the country,” he said. “We have learned from that, we have improved in many other aspects. We’ve put policies in place since then just for incidents like this.”

As questions remain about what happened Monday morning, Washington asked for patience.

“I know that’s challenging,” he said. “There’s a sense of urgency, a sense of emptiness right now, because people are wondering what and why it happened.”

He said city officials want to find “out what happened and why it happened.”

“I share in grieving on this occasion with our city, and I also share in the quest for answers,” he said.

Winstrom told News 8 earlier this week he would release the video next week. But on Thursday morning, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker asked police to wait until the investigation is complete.

According to Washington, the prosecutor and police chief will iron things out soon and decide what they can and can’t release. The goal is making sure they don’t jeopardize the investigation.

“We can both protect the integrity of the investigative process and also do so in a way that promotes accountability and transparency to the community,” Washington said.

He added that both state police and the county prosecutor have a part to play in the investigation.

“There is a formal investigative process that we are not in full control over,” he said.

Additionally, he said he doesn’t have “all the facts at this point,” and he’s looking for answers.

“I too am looking for the information, both the video information, the medical information, as well as the other accounts of witnesses in the area,” Washington said.

Patrick Lyoya’s father, Peter Lyoya, has seen the body camera footage and wants it released immediately, according to his interpreter, Israel Siku.

“He wants people to know the truth,” Siku said. “As a father, Peter don’t want to see this happen to another parent.”