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Coalition of area clergy sign letter demanding reform and a “Call for Justice for Patrick Lyoya”

G-RAP members.jpg
Patrick Center
/
WGVU Public Media
Members of the Grand Rapids Association of Pastors at Grace Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI.

Church leaders from across the Grand Rapids area have formed a multicultural alliance seeking justice for Patrick Lyoya. The 26-year old Congolese refugee was fatally shot by a Grand Rapids police officer during an April traffic stop.

“To everything there is a time and a season. This is a time for anger.”

Rev. Christy Lipscomb is one of 70 Christian church leaders signing on to a letter calling for reform.

“We Ministers of Christian Churches in Grand Rapids call for accountability for the killing of Patrick Lyoya.”

Clergy have signed on to a letter demanding a prosecutor outside Kent County handle the Lyoya case and are also requesting a federal investigation into the Lyoya killing and the Grand Rapids Police Department’s culture. It’s also asking the community have a say in GRPD union contract negotiations. The letter also sites funding for civilian oversight affecting change.

“You’re hearing today is the voice, of not the black church, you’re not hearing the voice of the white church, but you’re hearing the voice of the church here in Grand Rapids that has united around the reality that life matters.”

Samuel Moffett is Pastor of The House of God Family Life Ministries and a member of Grand Rapids Area Pastors. Jathan Austin is lead Pastor at One Church Empowerment. He explains it’s his duty to speak to the issue and those who have the ability to affect change hear the message from the pulpit.

“We have to make it make sense and when we do, then it allows those to be empowered to go back into the community, to go back in the offices, to go back in the board rooms, to go back in legislations and say, ‘You know what? I do have the Holy Spirit backing me behind me. I don’t have to fear. I will speak up in this injustice.’”

On this Pentecost Sunday, clergy signing on to the letter have committed to addressing with their congregations a “Call for Justice for Patrick Lyoya.”

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.