The city of Grand Rapids fired police officer Christopher Schurr, who shot Patrick Lyoya at a traffic stop on April 4 that earned national headlines and resulted in a second-degree murder charge against Schurr.
Schurr has decided to waive his right to a discharge hearing, Grand Rapids city manager Mark Washington said Wednesday.
“… Therefore, I have decided to end Mr. Schurr’s employment relationship with the Grand Rapids Police Department starting June 10, 2022,” Washington said. “Due to the ongoing criminal case and potential civil litigation, I will not provide any additional commentary on Mr. Schurr at this time.
Schurr’s resolution went into effect on Friday when Schurr was charged with second-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty and was released on $ 100,000 bail.
As a condition of preliminary release, Schurr cannot purchase or possess any firearms or dangerous weapons, must remain under the supervision of the judicial services, cannot drink alcohol or use illegal drugs, and cannot engage in “any aggressive, threatening or intimidating behavior. “.
Lyoya family attorney Ven Johnson questioned why the city of Grand Rapids has nearly two and a half months to make the decision, arguing that city officials had enough evidence to sack the officer well sooner. that Kent County Attorney Chris Becker announced the criminal charge on Thursday.
“Why did it take them so long?” Johnson told The Detroit News in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
Kent County Commissioner Robert Womack, who represents the city of Grand Rapids and had called for Schurr’s dismissal, welcomed the development.
“We were on the right side of the story when we said this cannot be tolerated,” Womack wrote on Facebook Wednesday. “Saying ‘I feared for my life’ is no longer (in itself) a very good reason to kill unarmed black men.”
In the Facebook post, Womack said it now seemed “inevitable” that the escalation reduction training it had been taking for years would actually take place.
“To all who have defended a change in the way African American neighborhoods are controlled by the police, I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he wrote.
In announcing the murder charge, Becker said he believed there was “sufficient basis” to proceed with the charge, which is a crime punishable up to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.
“The elements of second degree murder are relatively simple,” Becker said. “In the first place, there was a death, a death carried out by the accused … The death was not justified or justified, for example, in self-defense”.
The indictment led Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom to recommend the same day that Schurr be suspended and fired. Winstrom said Thursday at a press conference with Mayor Rosalynn Bliss that he based the discipline on video of the death, an investigation by the department’s internal affairs division and the prosecutor’s decision to indict the officer. The prosecutor’s decision to indict the officer after reviewing the report suggested the officer misbehaved, he said.
“I respect the prosecutor’s decision,” said Winstrom, who paused before saying whether he supported Becker’s decision. “I think he’s a fair man.”
“The city of Grand Rapids, which obviously includes its police department, has the responsibility of hiring and firing itself,” Lyoya Johnson’s attorney said Wednesday, “They waited for the prosecutor to make important decisions for the city. of Grand Rapids. “
“Leaving him in force and paying him money. … What message does he send to the officers? “
Becker said he received the full police report from state police investigators eight days before the allegations were announced and consulted with legal experts before making a decision.
The Grand Rapids police officer was justified when he shot Lyoya to death because “he did whatever he had to do according to the department’s policy.” Attorney Matt Borgula said Friday.
Under the Department of Grand Rapids policy on the use of force, officers may use deadly force “only to defend themselves, another officer, or another person against a reasonable threat of death or serious personal injury.” .. “
“Before using lethal force, he took several steps, to the point of being exhausted and felt he was in danger of taking lethal damage before deciding to draw his weapon,” Borgula said. “I think it will be the defense and I think we will win.”
MOREOVER: How the defense team intends to justify Schurr’s killing of Lyoya
Video from the April traffic stop shows Schurr, 31, shooting Lyoya, 26, in the back of the head.
In the video, Schurr asks Lyoya, a black immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, if he had a driver’s license and spoke English. When Lyoya indicated that he spoke English and wanted to know why a driver’s license was needed, the officer said the car was not registered.
Lyoya eventually escaped from the car, after which the officer chased after Lyoya, according to the video from the Grand Rapids Police Department. The two fought for the officer’s stun gun before he shot Lyoya in the back of her head while Lyoya was on the ground face down.
Legal experts told The News that Schurr must prove there was an imminent threat to his life to justify the use of lethal force.
A conference on the probable causes of the case has been set for June 21 at 9:30 am. A preliminary examination is also scheduled for June 28 at 13:30