The white former police officer who fatally shot Patrick Lyoya, a black man, this year in Michigan will stand trial for the murder, according to a judge’s memo posted online and announced in court Monday.
Former Grand Rapids Police Officer Christopher Schurr faces a single charge of second-degree murder, state District Court Judge Nicholas Ayoub said. He pleaded not guilty.
Lyoya’s final moments were captured in publicly released videos that show him running away from Schurr before being knocked to the ground and shot in the back of the head. Like the dead of other black men in the hands of the policethe Lyoya case sparked protests, with demonstrators chanting “Justice for Patrick”.
Second degree murder in Michigan is death caused by the accused maliciously and without justification or excuse.
The judge concluded on Monday that there was little doubt as to whether the officer’s actions caused Lyoya’s death by malice, ruling: “The only real moot question here is whether the actions of the accused were justified by law.”
The prosecution presented probable cause to support the charge, Ayoub told the courtroom, describing his own role as “very limited scrutiny” of prosecutors. A jury will be given the fuller task of determining the facts and verdict in the case, he said.
“The reasonableness of these actions can hardly be fully and fairly judged by a single person in a black robe with 20/20 hindsight and from the comfortable and safe vantage point of the high perch of the judge’s armored bench,” said the judge. tell those present.
“It is, however, precisely for this reason that questions of reasonableness and all questions of fact are decided by a jury after a full and fair trial.”
Dressed in a gray suit, Schurr obviously did not react to the decision. His defense attorney dropped the arraignment on his behalf and the judge said bail would stand.
Lyoya family attorneys Ben Crump and Ven Johnson welcomed the judge’s decision.
“The case will now legitimately proceed to trial, which is the next step in our quest to obtain full justice for the murder of Patrick Lyoya,” they said in a statement. “Our legal team will continue to fight to ensure that former Grand Rapids Police Officer Christopher Schurr and the City of Grand Rapids are held accountable for his actions.”
The decision comes just over six months after Schurr fatally shot Lyoya during a struggle as the officer attempted to arrest him during a traffic stop. Schurr and Lyoya had attacked his Taser, and after Lyoya took control of the weapon, Schurr drew his gun and killed him, the judge said in recounting the facts of the case.
Schurr was “justified in his use of force,” his attorney Mark Dodge argued. It was laid off for about two months after the meeting.
Lyoya had three outstanding warrants and a revoked driver’s license when he fled the traffic stop.