LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Demonstrators marched to the state Capitol in Lansing Thursday, calling for justice in the death of Patrick Lyoya.
The march was followed by a rally at the Capitol steps. Signs read, “Justice for Patrick,” “Black lives matter,” and “Name the killer cop.”
Sitting in the front row was Lyoya’s family, wearing shirts with his face on them. His mother was visibly emotional, tearing up as speakers called for justice in her son’s death. She and Lyoya’s father also spoke to the crowd.
While Lyoya was living in Grand Rapids when he died, he lived in Lansing after his family came to the U.S. from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2014. His parents still live there.
“Patrick grew up here in Lansing. He had friends here in Lansing,” Lyoya’s father Peter Lyoya said after the rally, speaking through an interpreter. “And they have decided to come with us, to protest with us to show the entire world the support of Patrick was killed. … So we can show the world how he was killed.”
He described his son as quiet, respectful and peaceful and thanked Lyoya’s supporters for reflecting that in their protests.
“I’m asking for everybody who participated in this march and protest, just let’s keep asking for justice for Patrick,” Peter Lyoya said.
Organized by Black Lives Matter Michigan, demonstrators demanded the Grand Rapids police officer who shot and killed Lyoya be named, charged and prosecuted.
“If I said I’m doing good, I’d be lying. I’m not doing good at all. I haven’t been able to sleep, I haven’t been able to think,” Lyoya’s friend Jimmy Barwan told News 8 at the rally. “But at the end of the day, it’s like, I’ve got to stay strong, I can’t show my weakness. Until we get justice, that’s when I’m going to have time to mourn. So right now, I can’t.”
Lyoya, 26, was shot and killed by a Grand Rapids police officer on April 4. The attorneys for his family argue the officer repeatedly failed to deescalate the situation and that the use of force was excessive.
Michigan State Police are still investigating the shooting. Their report will go to the county prosecutor, who will decide whether the use of force was justified or whether charges will be filed. As of Wednesday, the prosecutor did not yet have the case.
Video released by the Grand Rapids Police Department shows the officer pulling Lyoya over. There was a struggle that included Lyoya grabbing the officer’s Taser. The officer, who was atop Lyoya as the two struggled, shot him once in the head, killing him.
A pathologist hired by the Lyoya’s family’s attorneys says Lyoya died of a single gunshot wound to the back of the head. He says the gun was pressed against Lyoya’s head when it was fired.
Several marches in support of Lyoya have already been held in Grand Rapids.
His funeral is scheduled for Friday.