A fresh protest gathered dozens of people in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Saturday. The death of Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old Congolese immigrant, sparked calls for police reform. Hundreds of protestors gathered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Saturday, chanting “there is no justice in this land” and “Justice for Patrick.”
Protests against racism and demands for police reform erupted after the death of a 26-year-old Congolese-American. On April 4, Patrick Lyoya was slain by a police officer during a traffic check in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In a video taken by a passenger in his car prior to the shooting, he looked to be grappling on the ground for control of the officer’s taser.
Lyoya’s death is the latest in a long line of unarmed black people killed by police. Patrick Lyoya’s parents said they left turmoil in the Democratic Republic of Congo only to have their “son slain with bullets” in the US. At an emotional press conference, Attorney Ben Crump condemned what he called an “unnecessary, unreasonable, excessive use of fatal force” that saw the officer “escalate a simple traffic check into a murderous execution” during an emotional press conference.
He said that there was nothing “to justify” him bringing out his service pistol, placing it at the back of Patrick’s head, and squeezing the trigger. I’m going to blow his head off. “If shooting civilians in the back of the head is wrong in Ukraine, then shooting civilians in the back of the head is wrong here in Grand Rapids, Michigan, “he added.
The lawyers for the Lyoya family want the officer who opened fire to be identified, convicted, and dismissed from the police force. He has been placed on paid leave for the time being while the state investigates. Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, the Congolese Prime Minister, condemned the “cowardly assassination” and demanded an investigation. Patrick Lyoya leaves behind two children and a bereaved family.