March to Lansing Capitol Building calls for justice, oversight
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Hundreds of people marched through Downtown Lansing to demand justice for Patrick Lyoya.
The story has brought attention nationwide as people marched Thursday to the steps of the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing.
Lyoya had an altercation during an April 4 traffic stop that ended with Lyoya face down on the ground and being shot in the back of the head by a Grand Rapids police officer.
Police said he was shot as the two struggled over the officer’s electroshock weapon. The family’s attorney called it an execution.
The march was an outpouring of frustration and grief. People held signs and chanted for justice, transparency and action. They’re demanding the officer’s name be released and that they face charges for murder.
”I stand with them in solidarity. We are the only people who have to watch execution and murder of our people on television repeatedly, repeatedly and repeatedly,” said K.T. Saxon. “We won’t stand for it anymore.”
The march started at St. Luke Lutheran Church, near the intersection of Michigan and Pennsylvania avenues, and ended at the Michigan State Capitol Building.
”The family has articulated three demands. They want the officer identified, they want his name released, they want him to be fired, they want him to be prosecuted under the full demands and strength of the law,” said Sean Holland.
Lyoya’s family wanted the march to remain peaceful so its message wouldn’t be overshadowed.
Some people in the march drove hours to be involved. They said they made the drive because they believe the incident was racially motivated and came to show their support.
While the focus of Thursday’s rally was on Lyoya, much of the frustrating came from how frequently this type of incident occurs in the United States. Protesters said they don’t see Lyoya’s death as an isolated incident.
“We want to elevate the other stories of murders around the state and around the nation that have gone unsolved and to bring light to the injustice and to how this system of policing does not keep many in our community safe,” Holland said. “We need an entire transformation of this system.”
Michigan State Police are investigating the fatal shooting. They will send a report to the Kent County prosecutor, who will decide if the officer gets charged. At a vigil Tuesday, one speaker called for the case to handed over to Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office and said having police investigating police should be considered a conflict of interest.
The city of Grand Rapids is running an internal investigation to see if the officer followed department policy.
The Grand Rapids police officer is on administrative leave. The police chief said he will not release the name of the officer unless he is charged.
The Michigan Department of Civil Rights has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the Grand Rapids Police Department.
Lyoya’s funeral will take place Friday at 11 a.m. at the Renaissance Church of God in Christ in Grand Rapids.
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