"That man should have never been killed" activists address GRPD video of Patrick Lyoya's death
Hundreds of attendees took to the streets for nearly five hours Wednesday night.
The City of Grand Rapids took many precautions Wednesday afternoon, following the release of video that showed an officer shooting and killing 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya during a traffic stop. Barricades were put around the police station, and some storefronts boarded up windows in preparations for protests. However, during a demonstration Wednesday evening, activists said they've made it clear they want action, not destruction.
"We need real change. We need policy change," activist Deandre Jones shouted to a sea of protesters downtown. “...I’m not just talking to ya’ll as a person as an activist that care about Black people and all people of color. Regardless of the ethnicity, that man should have never been killed.”
Jones has been vocal about his own experience with officer-involved killings. His cousin was killed two years ago by Chicago police officers.
"I remember walking for Breonna Taylor never thinking that my cousin would be next, and now I’m standing here right next to ya’ll," he said.
Ky Ps, a mother of two, also attended the demonstration. Ps explained protesting is a necessity, not a choice for many.
“Our lives depend on it. Black, White, Mexican, Asian, Indian, Puerto Rican, anything. We need to fight for our lives. That’s why I’m out here. My kids matter. My kids are seven and four. They’re brown-skinned. This could be them," Ps said.
Hundreds of attendees took to the streets for nearly five hours Wednesday night. The group circled the police department, chanting their demands. They included, but were not limited to, requesting the name of the officer who killed Lyoya and pushing for charges to be filed against the officer. However, in a press conference Wednesday afternoon GRPD Chief Eric Winstrom said the officer's name wouldn't be released until Michigan State Police wraps up its investigation. Winstrom added, after the investigation, Kent County Prosecutor, Chris Becker, will decide if charges are filed. The officer is currently on paid leave, and temporarily stripped of police powers.