Grand Rapids police released video footage Wednesday of the fatal shooting of Patrick Lyoya, a Black man, by an officer. The video includes footage from the officer's body camera, which was deactivated shortly after the officer told the suspect to "let go of the Taser."
Lyoya was shot in the head, police Chief Eric Winstrom confirmed.
The video, a collection of dashcam footage, body cam footage, a home security camera, and a cellphone video, depicts an unnamed police officer pulling over Lyoya and a passenger for a "license plate that doesn't match the car."
Lyoya gets out of the car, so the officer gets out and tells him to get back in the car. The officer asks for his driver's license and then proceeds to ask if Lyoya speaks English due to a possible language barrier.
Police officers have a thing about this. When a cop pulls a driver over, they want him to remain in the car. If he gets out, they yell for him to get back into the car, as this officer did. Lyoya did not do so and it's not unreasonable to ask why. Nonetheless, the most obvious question pertains as to why the victim's license plate did not match his car, which may have something trivial, or not. And further: did a language barrier play any role?
In an instance in which "run around" does a lot of work
Lyoya then appears to run around the car, and the officer chases and tackles him to the ground on the front lawn of a house.
They struggle, and the officer can be heard telling Lyoya to "stop" and to "let go of the Taser."
Police officers are trained not to draw their gun unless they would be willing, if circumstances worsen, to fire it. In this case, the officer did not maintain control of one of his weapons, a laser. Allowing a suspect the opportunity to wrest control of any weapon seems rather counter-productive. Thereafter
After about 90 seconds, the officer is lying on top of Lyoya, who is face down on the ground, still yelling for him to "let go of the Taser," and proceeds to shoot him.
This raises an interesting issue which the public will be discouraged from considering.. The victim was resisting and the officer appears to have had no choice but to shoot Lyoya in order to subdue him. Yet, whether he had an alternative to a kill shot is an open question. Police officers rarely shoot to injure, a procedure or policy rarely explored by media.
Nonetheless, race will shape the perception of the left and much of the center while knee-jerk support of police will shape the perception of the right and other centrists. And we'll learn nothing more relevant about criminal justice, race and policing than we have during the last two years.