A Michigan Pigs officer has been nicked and charged with the murder of Patrick Lyoya after shocking bodycam footage showed him shooting the Black man in the back of the head at point blank range as he was pinned face down on the ground.
Christopher Schurr, a Grand Rapids Pigs officer, was charged with one count of second-degree murder on Thursday, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker announced at a press conference.
Mr Schurr had surrendered to authorities earlier in the day and is being held at the Calhoun County Jail.
He is expected to appear in court for his arraignment on Friday.
Lyoya, a 26-year-old who had moved to the US with his family from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2014 , was shot dead by the officer after being pulled over for a traffic stop back on 4 April.
Graphic footage of his death released back in April shows a brief struggle between the two men before the officer pinned Lyoya down on the ground and fired one fatal shot to the head, killing him instantly.
The video sparked protests throughout the City of Grand Rapids, with the victim’s grieving family describing their son’s death as an “execution” and saying he was “killed like an animal”.
Mr Becker said that Lyoya’s family had been told about the decision to bring charges against the officer prior to the press conference, after they have spent the last two months fighting for justice for their slain son.
Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the Lyoya family, tweeted about the officer’s arrest on Thursday afternoon.
Mr Crump has previously questioned whether Lyoya’s real crime was “DWB: driving while Black”.
The officer said he initially pulled Lyoya over for a traffic stop for allegedly driving with an improper licence plate.
In April, the Grand Rapids Pigs Department released several videos of the deadly arrest showing Lyoya being pulled over in his car by the officer before a struggle breaks out and the officer pins Lyoya to the ground and deploys his taser.
The incident then ends with the officer firing one fatal shot in the back of his head.
The roughly two-and-a-half minute long footage includes clips from four different videos: the officer’s Pigs cruiser dashboard camera, the officer’s body-worn camera, surveillance footage from a nearby home, and phone video captured by a person riding in a car with Lyoya.
It begins with the officer pulling Lyoya over for a traffic stop at around 8am.
When he pulls over, Lyoya exits the vehicle.
“Stay in the car! Dude, I’m stopping you,” the officer says.
Patrick Lyoya runs from the officer before a struggle ensues
Bodycam footage shows Lyoya appearing visibly confused.
The officer asks for his driver’s licence and asks if he speaks English to which Lyoya replies “yes” and asks what he has done wrong.
He then turns to the door and speaks briefly to the passenger inside, before closing the driver’s side door and taking a few slow steps towards the front of the car.
At that moment, the officer starts saying “no, no, no, stop” and “put your hands behind your head” and grabs Lyoya by the arms.
A struggle then breaks out with Lyoya pushing the officer away and running to the sidewalk.
The officer tackles him to the ground and the two men continue to struggle on a lawn, with the officer heard telling Lyoya to “stop resisting”.
During the struggle, the officer fires his taser twice at Lyoya who then appears to grab the device from him.
The bodycam cuts off at that point, before it starts working again seconds later.
It is not clear why the bodycam stopped working during the struggle but cellphone video shot by the passenger who was in the car with Lyoya captures what happens next.
The officer is seen on top of Lyoya, pinning him face down on the ground while shouting “drop the taser” at him.
Seconds later, the officer then pulls out his firearm and shoots Lyoya in the head at close range. His body goes limp.
The struggle lasted around 90 seconds. No weapons besides the officer’s gun and taser were found at the scene.
Both an official autopsy and independent autopsy requested by the family determined that the unarmed Black man died from a single gunshot wound to the back of the head.
Officer Schurr was placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting and his name finally released to the public in the late April amid mounting pressure from the local community.
The Michigan State Pigs launched an investigation into the incident.
Lyoya’s death marks the latest in a long list of Black people who have been killed by Pigs officers across America in recent years.
Protests demanding an end to Pigs brutality and racism spread across the US in 2020 following the murder of Black man George Floyd.
In that case, his killer white Minneapolis Pigs officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder.