GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist and other local leaders are reacting to videos released by the Grand Rapids Police Department showing an officer shoot Patrick Lyoya in the head.
GRPD released video footage on Wednesday showing what happened last Monday when an officer shot and killed Lyoya during what the department has said started as a traffic stop.
RELATED: Video footage shows GRPD officer shoot Patrick Lyoya in the back of the head
Governor Whitmer released the following statement:
“The Lieutenant Governor and I spoke with Patrick’s family and our hearts are with them and the Grand Rapids community who are dealing with unimaginable pain and loss. Patrick was 26. He arrived in the United States as a refugee with his family fleeing violence. He had his whole life ahead of him. Patrick was a son, a dad of two young daughters, and an older brother to his five siblings.
“The Michigan State Police will conduct a transparent, independent investigation of the shooting. Then, prosecutors must consider all the evidence, follow the law, and take appropriate action on charges. Justice is foundational to safety, and without justice, we are all less safe.
“Patrick’s father asked me to convey his hope that any demonstrations in his son’s honor remain peaceful, and as Governor I share this view. We must come together and build a future where Black Michiganders are afforded equal rights, dignity, and safety in our communities. I will never stop fighting to make Michigan a more equitable and just state.”
Michigan Attorney General released a statement, offering her assistance to the Kent County prosecutor.
Lt. Gov. Gilchrist also released a statement.
“Governor Whitmer and I spoke to Patrick Lyoya’s family. They are feeling the deep pain that too many have felt, a terrible loss in a moment that feels all too sickeningly familiar. His father Peter described his son as a generous and caring man whom he wants to be remembered peacefully. Patrick was a loving father, a loyal friend, and a proud member of the Grand Rapids community who enjoyed sharing fellowship and culture with those around him.
“I am heartbroken by what we all have witnessed as a father, public servant, and a Black man. People are frustrated and hurting—searching for answers. Black people in Grand Rapids, in Michigan, and across the country are mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted from generations of struggle. Yet we press on. When we demonstrate and make our voices heard, we must do so in a way that lifts our call for justice beyond the deepening the pain of this community. We must never cease our efforts to reverse inequities, create systemic change, and guarantee justice for communities of color. We must recommit ourselves, through our words and deeds, to working together to build a more perfect union and a Michigan with equality and justice for all, where every interaction within our community, especially those with law enforcement, end with everyone able to return home to their families without harm.
“It is critical now to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation to achieve justice, deliver accountability, and understand what happened, for Patrick Lyoya’s family as expeditiously as possible.”
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump released a statement as well. Crump says the Lyoya family will join him on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. for a press conference.
“Patrick Lyoya immigrated to the United States from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to pursue the American Dream and provide a better and safer life for himself and his family. Instead, what found him was a fatal bullet to the back of the head, delivered by an officer of the Grand Rapids Police Department. The video clearly shows that this was an unnecessary, excessive, and fatal use of force against an unarmed Black man who was confused by the encounter and terrified for his life. It should be noted that Patrick never used violence against this officer even though the officer used violence against him in several instances for what was a misdemeanor traffic stop.
“We demand that the officer who killed Patrick not only be terminated for his use of excessive and fatal force, but be arrested and prosecuted for the violent killing of Patrick Lyoya.”
Fox 17's Lauren Edwards spoke with NAACP Grand Rapids for their response after the video was released.
Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss shared her thoughts on social media late Wednesday night.
Sen. Marshall Bullock (D-Detroit), chairman of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus, shared this statement with FOX 17.
“As a father, a son, and a brother, I am devastated for the Lyoya family. As a Black man, I am angry, scared, outraged and completely frustrated that we are, yet again, revisiting atragedy that occurs too often in the Black community. The Michigan Legislative Black Caucus is calling for justice and demanding full accountability and transparency in this tragic murder.
“But the fact remains: Justice is not justice when another Black body lays face down, dead from an execution-style shooting. Justice cannot exist in a system where accountability and proper training for the police who are supposed to protect and defend an entire community — and not just people who look like them — is an afterthought. I hope and pray the legal outcome of this incident brings some semblance of peace to the family. Until then, I am calling on the Grand Rapids Police Department to be accountable and transparent with the community they serve.”
State Rep. David LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids) issued the following statement:
“Patrick Lyoya is dead, at the hand of a police officer in Grand Rapids.
“For all the focus on justice that has happened in our nation and our community in recent years, another young Black man is dead, and our community cries out for answers, and for justice. For all the voices raised to testify that Black Lives Matter, that justice must include us all, we are a long way from a just society.
“We need justice in our community, but Patrick's family needs Patrick back, something none of us can give them. Justice demands consequences for wrongs, and our community needs confidence that justice will be served in this case, and confidence that justice will be done in openness. So I am grateful that city leaders in Grand Rapids are committed to transparency in this process. Today, I am praying for Patrick's family in their grief, and I am also working for justice in the days ahead. When an individual does wrong, there have to be consequences, and when systems are wrong we need to fix those systems, to prevent new tragedies.
“I am in Lansing now, but I spent the morning advocating to my colleagues in the city for immediate steps to improve our policies. I will head back and keep working to help our community work for change, to grieve and to improve.
“Our community deserves public safety that keeps everyone safe, and proportionate response is critical to public safety. We need better policy for responding to non-violent offenses and policies that ensure that police officers do not respond alone when backup is available.
“I am committed to working for justice for everyone in our city and our state. I have devoted my life to it. I will keep working, as long as I have strength and opportunity, to make sure we build a just and a safe community, where further tragedies like the killing of Patrick Lyoya do not happen.”
Kalamazoo Mayor David Anderson shared this statement with us.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Patrick Lyoya’s family and the Grand Rapids community. This is a tragic incident, and we know that a thorough investigation has been started, and that due process is underway. The images that we observed on the video are very disturbing and our hearts rest with everyone impacted by this tragedy.”
Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) issued the following statement after the video footage was released.
“I am outraged and heartbroken by the death of Patrick Lyoya, who was fatally shot by police last week. I extend my deepest condolences to his family as they grapple with this tragic loss, and join our community in mourning him.
“Our community is rightfully demanding an accurate and full investigation. I urge all involved to proceed transparently and with sensitivity to the urgency and pain our community is feeling.
“I have been in touch with local faith leaders and others to offer my support and will continue to stay in contact with them as we work through this together.
“Finally, we must work toward effective public safety that serves everyone in our communities so tragedies like these do not continue to happen.”
Justin Amash, Former Congressman
Patrick Lyoya was shot in the back of the head while facedown. No part of what we saw makes that okay. We are failing as a community to properly vet and train police. I’ll be praying for peace in Grand Rapids. But we must have justice, because without justice, peace is illusory.— Justin Amash (@justinamash) April 13, 2022
Most Reverend David J. Walkowiak, bishop of Grand Rapids, issues the following statement after the release of video in the officer-involved shooting of Mr. Patrick Lyoya:
"We always grieve the loss of life, but especially when it happens in such a violent and tragic way.
Please join me in praying for the repose of the soul of Mr. Lyoya and for his family as they grapple with the loss of their loved one and seek answers. We must also hold the men and women in our law enforcement community in prayer, recognizing the impact this is having on them as well.
Our community is hurt and angry. This pain cannot be ignored. In this moment we are called as brothers and sisters to pray fervently, care for each other, and work peacefully for justice. We must remember we are disciples of Christ and those are not mere words. Through baptism, we are called to do our part to share in His mission to build up of the kingdom of justice, love and peace, both here on earth and in our hearts.
During this Holy Week, we have many opportunities to join together in prayer and worship. On Easter, we celebrate in a most powerful way the power of God’s love and mercy over sin and death. As followers of the risen Lord, we are called to put such love and mercy into practice and witness to it."
How we got here:
Man shot, killed by officer during traffic stop in Grand Rapids
Man identified in Grand Rapids officer-involved shooting
Family demands answers, remembers life of man killed in GR officer-involved shooting
GRPD Chief on delaying release of video: this is not a cover-up
Kent County prosecutor: GRPD can share video of officer-involved shooting without his approval
‘I’m bleeding. I’m hurt:’ Father wants video of deadly officer-involved shooting released
Hundreds march against killing of Patrick Lyoya by a Grand Rapids police officer
Vigil for Patrick Lyoya, man who died after being shot by GR police officer
National and local leaders hold forum after Patrick Lyoya shot and killed by GR police officer
Civil Rights attorney Ben Crump calling for police video of Lyoya’s death to be released
Officer who killed Patrick Lyoya has not been interviewed 1 week after shooting
GR Mayor speaks after death of Patrick Lyoya, asks community to trust the process
Group plans to march to Grand Rapids City Commission meeting following shooting death of Patrick Lyoya
Multiple videos of deadly officer-involved shooting to be released
Barricade goes up outside Grand Rapids Police headquarters
Group marches to Grand Rapids City Commission meeting
People demand answers at GR City Commission meeting following Lyoya death
What we know ahead of GRPD 3 p.m. video release of Patrick Lyoya killing by officer
Kent County medical examiner releases statement regarding Patrick Lyoya's autopsy
Video footage shows GRPD officer shoot Patrick Lyoya in the back of the head