Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

Grand Rapids cop executes youth from Congo

By Liv Lashley

Lyoya's friends and family reenact the suppressed video of his murder.

Grand Rapids, MI – Hundreds marched to remember Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old African man murdered by Grand Rapids police in Michigan. Lyoya’s family led a march, April 9, through the Black neighborhood of Boston Square to a vigil for their first-born son.

After shooting Lyoya on April 4, the police immediately created their own story for broadcast to local news stations. That story fell apart within hours. The police claim there was a struggle, but Lyoya’s father, Peter Lyoya, said through an interpreter that there was no struggle in the video he was shown. Lyoya said the video shows his son being murdered “execution style.”

“My son was killed like an animal. The way that the police assassinated my son, he was already laying on the floor, and he had his hands behind his back.” Lyoya continued: “I knew that to come to America, it was going to be safe, and there is no safety here. I thought I would give them a good life. Now he is gone, I have lost him.”

The Lyoya family immigrated from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2014 to escape political violence.

In a heartbreaking moment, Patrick Lyoya’s family stopped the march at the scene of his murder to reenact the killing, to show the world what the police still refuse to show. Two young men came forward from the crowd, one representing Patrick, lying in the street on his stomach, hands behind his back. The other portrayed the killer cop, with a hand on Patrick's back holding him down, the other hand miming a gun pointing at the back of Patrick's head, while his family sang through sobs in his memory. The crowd was in tears, but then started chanting with raised fists.

Activists filled the neighborhood streets with chants of “Release the video!” and “Name the killer cop!” Meanwhile the Grand Rapids Police Department has dragged its feet on releasing the police car’s dashcam video of the killing. Police Chief Eric Winstrom says he will do so on Friday – the slowest news cycle day of the week.

Lyoya’s family want justice. They want the video showing the police assassination released on Monday, April 11, and they want the cop who shot him named, and prosecuted for his crime.

Black liberation organization Voices of the Revolution helped the family organize the march and vigil, with County Commissioner Robert Womack lending his support.

Hundreds march to demand justice for Patrick Lyoya.

#GrandRapidsMI #PoliceBrutality #killerCops #Congo #VoicesOfTheRevolution