Protests for Patrick Lyoya continue, one day after funeral
Protesters continue to demand for the officer who killed Lyoya to be identified and prosecuted. GRPD has said it will not identify the officer unless charges are filed.
Just one day after Patrick Lyoya’s funeral, protesters took to the streets of downtown Grand Rapids to protest his killing. Lyoya, a 26-year-old, Congolese refugee was fatally shot in the back of the head by a Grand Rapids police officer during a traffic stop earlier this month.
The Saturday event was held at 3pm in Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Grand Rapids. Music played through speakers while hot dogs and burgers were being grilled and passed around. Colorful chalk was used to write out "Justice for Patrick Lyoya" and "No Justice No Peace," on the sidewalks, while other attendees used spray paint to express themselves on cardboard signs. Around 6:30pm protesters started marching the streets, chanting the name of Patrick Lyoya and calls for police reform.
The protest was hosted by the Breonna Taylor Foundation. Taylor, a Black, Grand Rapids native, was shot and killed by Louisville police in 2020 during a botched narcotic raid. Her death further invoked a mass conversation surrounding racism, police brutality and the effects of no-knock warrants. Davionne Smith, a cousin of Taylor, told WGVU during the protest it feels like calls for change within the policing system have gone unanswered.
"It’s just waiting on the next victim. It’s not stopping. It didn’t stop with Breonna. It didn’t stop with George Floyd. It didn’t stop from all the way back when they was the KKK. Now they just have on blue suits,” Smith said.
Smith said his family is standing in solidarity with Lyoya's. Both families lost their children at age 26 to police.
“It’s going to be a long journey…The police department needs to be tore down, rebuilt. The officers in it, they need new training and everything. They’re very reckless when it comes to the urban community,” he said.
Protesters are still demanding the officer who killed Lyoya be identified and prosecuted. GRPD has said it will not identify the officer unless charges are filed. Michigan State Police is still investigating the incident, and following the investigation Kent County Prosecutor, Chris Becker, will decide whether charges against the officer will be pursued.