GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A Michigan police chief changed course Monday and publicly identified the officer who fatally shot Patrick Lyoya in the back of the head during a traffic stop on April 4.
The Grand Rapids officer is Christopher Schurr, Chief Eric Winstrom said.
Lyoya, 26, a black man from Congo, was killed after a struggle with the white officer.
“In the interest of transparency, to reduce lingering speculation and to avoid further confusion, I confirm the name already circulating publicly — Christopher Schurr — as the agent involved in the April 4 shooting,” Winstrom said in a statement. . †
In the wake of the shooting and the release of the video, Winstrom said he would withhold the officer’s name unless he was charged with a felony. It was described as a long-standing practice that applied to both the public and city employees.
Lyoya’s family and black leaders, including Rev. Al Sharpton, host of MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation,” repeatedly called for transparency and release of the name.
“We want his name!” Sharpton yelled at Lyoya’s funeral Friday, saying authorities cannot set a precedent for withholding the names of officers who kill people unless the officer is charged.
Lyoya, who was unarmed, was lying face down on the ground when he was shot. Schurr sat on top of him and can be heard on video demanding that he remove his hand from the officer’s taser.
A forensic pathologist who performed an autopsy at the family’s request said the gun was pressed to Lyoya’s head when he was shot.
“Every time a young black man or woman is arrested in this city, you put their name in the news. Every time we’re suspected of something, put our name on it,” Sharpton said. “How dare you hold the name of a man who killed this man? We want his name!”
After the funeral, Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington acknowledged the demand for the officer’s name and said he would discuss the matter with Winstrom and the city’s employment officials.
“Police reform requires evaluating many long-standing practices to ensure that our actions are aligned with the interests of the community and the individuals involved,” Washington said last week.