Patrick Lyoya’s family files federal and civil lawsuits against the City of Grand Rapids and Christopher Schurr
Claim proof of long pattern of excessive use of force by GRPD
Attorneys for the family of Patrick Lyoya, the Congolese immigrant shot and killed by former Grand Rapids Police Officer Christopher Schurr, announced Wednesday they have filed civil and federal lawsuits against Schurr and the city.
“Schurr we are accusing, and we will prove, that he utilized unnecessary, illegal, excessive force,’ family attorney Ven Johnson said.
Johnson says that his legal team will also prove that the City of Grand Rapids has a history of using excessive force during arrests, as well as a history of ignoring complaints.
“We have evidence that the City of Grand Rapids from (June 1, 2015) through (May 21, 2020) the City of Grand Rapids had 79 complaints of excessive use of force by its officers,” Johnson said. “And exonerated or otherwise cleared single officer except for two,” he said. “A lot of people (at the city) will tell you, ‘Oh, yeah, people complain all the time.’ Baloney. People don’t.”
The legal team laid out several arguments Wednesday that warrant the lawsuits, notably, Schurr’s initial decision to make a U-Turn and follow Lyoya’s car. While the GRPD says Schurr initially pulled over Lyoya for a license plate infraction, his attorneys claim that Lyoya’s car did not have a license plate on the front of the vehicle; meaning, there is only reason for Schurr to turn his patrol car around and begin a pursuit in the first place, says attorney Ben Crump.
“That is textbook driving while black,” Crump said. “101. And that is why, Patrick was unjustly killed.”
The legal team says no court date or judge has been set for the lawsuits. In the criminal trial, Schurr is charged with second degree murder. His defense team says they will prove the shooting was justified.