The police officer who fatally shot a 26-year-old Congolese refugee in the back of the head could go to jail for life. NewsOne reports that Grand Rapids Police Christopher Schurr is facing second-degree murder charges in the killing of Patrick Lyoya. If convicted, Schurr could spend the rest of his life in prison as this is the most serious charge possible in this case.
Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker announced the charges during a press conference and rejected the notion his office took too long to bring the charges.
“These things take time,” Becker said according to NewsOne which adds that Becker said he “wanted to be thorough.”
He also added that he spoke with Patrick Lyoya’s family ahead of the press conference and thanked them for “their tremendous patience and understanding as this process has developed.”
Grand Rapids’ Wood8 TV reports that Schurr has turned himself in and was booked in the Calhoun County jail in Battle Creek, which the Calhoun County sheriff noted was a “common practice” in cases where a defendant works for the jurisdiction in which he was arrested.
The news site adds that Grand Rapids Police Department Chief Eric Winstrom said he was recommending that Schurr be immediately suspended without pay pending termination. Why this man is still actively employed is beyond us, but we digress.
Christopher Schurr Arraigned
Schurr was arraigned on Friday via Zoom and he told the Judge “yes, your honor” when asked if understood the charge against him, reports Wood8 TV. He was also supported by attendees in the courtroom galley who wore “Back The Blue #StandWithSchurr shirts.
Schurr’s defense team has released the following statement:
“We were disappointed to learn that Officer Schurr has been charged with murder by the Kent County Prosecutor. Officer Schurr is a decorated member of law enforcement who has dedicated his career to helping others and protecting the citizens of Grand Rapids.
“The evidence in this case will show that the death of Patrick Lyoya was not murder but an unfortunate tragedy, resulting from a highly volatile situation. Mr. Lyoya continually refused to obey lawful commands and ultimately disarmed a police officer. Mr. Lyoya gained full control of a police officer’s weapon while resisting arrest, placing Officer Schurr in fear of great bodily harm or death.
“We are confident that after a jury hears all of the evidence, Officer Schurr will be exonerated.”
Exonerated??? Let’s all collectively pray that that doesn’t happen.