Michigan cop charged with second-degree murder in death of Patrick Lyoya


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Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said during a news conference that he based his charging decision on investigative findings from state police. To be guilty of second degree murder, a defendant has to have killed someone without the justification of self-defense and with either the intent to kill, intent to do great bodily harm, or intent to commit an act with a natural tendency to cause death or great bodily harm. “Taking a look at everything that I reviewed in this case, I believe there’s a sufficient basis to proceed on a single count of second-degree murder, and that charge has been filed with the courts as of today,” Becker said.

Schurr turned himself in on Thursday and was expected to be arraigned the next day, Becker said. When asked why his decision has taken such a long time, he said he only got the state police’s report on May 31 due to a delay regarding a Taser report. “We make a decision when we have all the facts,” Becker said.

Lyoya’s story has attracted national attention, and a reporter asked if that attention could affect the trial’s location. Becker said he doesn’t expect the case to be moved out of Kent County and that he has handled high-profile cases before. He said he wouldn’t charge a crime he didn’t think he could prove.

Becker has advocated against the immediate and public release of video in the case, and more than 50 local leaders of faith representing organizations including the Black Clergy Coalition and the Greater Grand Rapids NAACP asked him to recuse himself from the charging decision.

Becker said in a statement released in April that after a partial investigative report from the Michigan State Police, he is in “regular contact with their investigators” and is seeking expert guidance. He said at his most recent news conference that expert guidance has included use-of-force experts but he won’t be able to get into the facts and circumstances that led to his decision. “The rules of professional conduct are pretty strict,” he said. “This case needs to be tried in a court of law and not necessarily in public.”

Police Chief Eric Winstrom wouldn’t even release Schurr’s name to the public until three weeks after Lyoya’s death. The chief said the officer was placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting and Winstrom will—now that Schurr has been charged—recommend his suspension without pay pending termination, the Detroit Free Press reported of a news conference from city leaders.

In the words of 13-year-old activist Naiara Tamminga: “I don’t trust any of you. I don’t trust any of the police officers because you have shown time and time again that we cannot trust you.”

RELATED STORY: ‘We cannot trust you’: 13-year-old activist delivers kind of message police should be listening to





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