Center for Policing Equity on the Officer Shooting Death of Patrick Lyoya

April 13, 2022

Center for Policing Equity -  

New Haven, CT – On Wednesday afternoon, the Grand Rapids Police Department released video footage of the officer shooting death of Patrick Lyoya in Grand Rapids, Michigan on April 4. The officer who struggled with and killed Lyoya has not yet been publicly named.

The release of such videos plays a critical role in efforts to hold law enforcement accountable; CPE is mindful, however, that they also provoke renewed trauma and fresh grieving among those close to the person whose life was taken, as well as in the broader community. We stand with Patrick Lyoya's family and loved ones, the Congolese immigrant community, and everyone in Grand Rapids now forced to relive the tragic events of that morning.

As has so often been the case in past law enforcement shootings, the series of events that ended in Lyoya's death seemingly began when he was reportedly pulled over for a traffic stop. Police maintain that upon running the car's plates, officers found they didn't match the car itself. After conversing for some moments with an officer outside of the car, Lyoya began to run; he was pursued by the officer who caught, struggled with, shot, and killed him. As the released video footage reveals (which we are not sharing due to the trauma that can be caused from viewing it) Lyoya was on the ground when the officer withdrew his service weapon and shot him in the back of the head at point blank range.

A 2020 analysis of 95 million traffic stops across 56 law enforcement agencies found that Black drivers are far more likely than White drivers to be pulled over by police; a 2022 report found that, between 2016 and 2021, officers killed 400 people while conducting traffic stops, an average of more than one fatality every week. Those killed were disproportionately Black, and in the vast majority of cases, the officers responsible faced no disciplinary consequences.   

Patrick Lyoya's death was senseless and unnecessary; that it was at the hands of police is unacceptable. We must seek accountability.CPE is committed to advancing the work of identifying and reducing the root causes of racial disparities in law enforcement, toward a future of genuine public safety, for all.

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About Center for Policing Equity: As a research and action organization, Center for Policing Equity (CPE) produces analyses identifying and reducing the causes of racial disparities in law enforcement. Using evidence-based approaches to social justice, we use data to create levers for social, cultural and policy change. Center for Policing Equity also holds a 501(c)3 status.