Protesters stop Grand Rapids city meeting and demand justice for Patrick Lyoya
UPDATE: At 11 p.m., city officials told protesters that City Hall was closing and they should leave. The two dozen remaining protesters left without any arrests being made inside the building.
GRAND RAPIDS, MI — About three dozen protesters shut down the Grand Rapids City Commission meeting on Tuesday night, venting their anger and demanding justice for Patrick Lyoya.
The disruption to the meeting occurred during public comments on Tuesday, April 26, when a person, after his microphone was cut off for swearing, approached Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom , and began to interrogate him. At the same time, others started screaming.
Mayor Rosalynn Bliss tried to adjourn the meeting for 10 minutes, but as the commotion continued and many made their way to where the commissioners were seated, she adjourned the meeting.
“Whose town? Our city. Whose streets? Our streets,” protesters chanted as they approached. “Justice for Patrick Lyoya. Justice for Patrick Lyoya.
The commissioners and most city employees left the city commission chambers about five to 10 minutes later, with Winstrom staying behind, listening to the protesters as they yelled at him. The leader was flanked by about three officers.
Related: Grand Rapids police chief reviews traffic control policies after Patrick Lyoya’s death
Over time, people stopped chanting and using megaphones and Winstrom was able to answer questions, but people largely voiced their concerns to him.
The commission meeting adjourned just before 9 p.m. for the final public comment portion of the meeting. About 10 people made public comments, and many more were still online, when the meeting was adjourned.
Winstrom listened and answered protesters’ questions until 11 p.m., when city officials said the building was closing and protesters should leave. Just over two dozen remaining protesters all left, with no arrests made inside City Hall.
Protesters demanded that Grand Rapids Police Officer Christopher Schurr, who fatally shot Lyoya, be arrested.
Other demands included that all officers obtain their own liability insurance and that Kent County District Attorney Chris Becker recede from the decision to indict Schurr. Becker has yet to receive the Michigan State Police’s investigation into the police shooting.
Related: NAACP and Urban League seek recusal of Kent County prosecutor in Patrick Lyoya case
The protest was one of many in the past three weeks after Lyoya, a 26-year-old black man, was shot on April 4 by a Grand Rapids police officer.
It was the first time protesters had ended a meeting and only the second meeting of the city commission since Lyoya’s death.
Lyoya was arrested on the morning of April 4 because his license plate did not match that of his vehicle.
Schurr initiated the traffic stop and then attempted to subdue Lyoya after Lyoya attempted to run and then struggled with the officer. The couple argued over control of Schurr’s Taser.
Eventually Schurr was on top of Lyoya and shot him once in the back of the neck.
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