GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Kent County judge will not pause proceedings while the Michigan Court of Appeals hears the case of the former Grand Rapids police officer who killed Patrick Lyoya.
At a brief hearing in a Grand Rapids courtroom Friday morning, Christopher Schurr’s defense attorneys filed a motion to stay. That would have delayed the progress of his second-degree murder case in Kent County Circuit Court and could have led to a delay in his trial, which is currently set for October. Judge Christina Elmore denied the motion.
Defense attorneys said they may appeal the denial, hoping the Court of Appeals would issue the stay while it considers Schurr’s appeal.
Schurr’s lawyers are arguing that the second-degree murder case should be thrown out, saying that Michigan common law gives officers the right to use deadly force against a fleeing felon. Prosecutors disagree, saying the law requires reasonable use of force and arguing that Schurr was not justified in shooting Lyoya. Judges in Kent County agreed, saying the defense’s argument would set two different standards for murder. They said the matter should be put before a jury.
The Court of Appeals announced earlier this month it would hear Schurr’s appeal, looking at the county courts’ decision to move the case forward.
The shooting happened April 4, 2022, in Grand Rapids after Schurr pulled Lyoya over. Video shows Lyoya run away and the two struggle over Schurr’s Taser. Ultimately, Schurr, who was on top of Lyoya trying to hold him down, shot him in the back of the head. That led to the murder charge, after which Schurr was fired.
Schurr was not in court with his lawyers on Friday morning.
In addition to the criminal case, Lyoya’s family has filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit against Schurr and the city of Grand Rapids. Schurr’s attorneys asked for it to be thrown out, claiming he is protected by qualified immunity. The case is still pending.