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Half of the GRPD FOIA documents are redacted, others reveal that the police viewed Patrick Lyoya as dangerous even after he was shot

May 5, 2022

Recently, WOOD TV 8 sent a FOIA request to the Grand Rapids Police Department, which they ran as a story on April 29, with links to the 4 separate FOIA documents.

Some of the information channel 8 chose to include was useful, but they also missed the opportunity to present other information from the FOIA documents. In addition, channel 8 was very careful not to report on the GRPD through a critical lens.

We have also included these 4 FOIA documents from the GRPD, will provide some critical analysis and include some of the content that is not favorable to the GRPD. 


The first FOIA document is essentially all of the pictures that the GRPD took of the police officer who shot and killed Patrick Lyoya, Christopher Schurr. Most of the items listed, which were photographed, were weapons and other items that Officer Schurr had on his possession that day.

The second FOIA document provides the names and badge numbers of the officers involved, along with the Call Narrative, beginning at 8:11AM through 1:49PM. There were a few lines redacted in this document.

The third FOIA document is exclusively about the “use of force”, which has 99% of the information redacted. The information redacted includes the number of “use of force applications”, the “effectiveness of force”, injuries incurred by “the subject”, the control point target areas, and the officer’s narrative, all of which are redacted.

It is significant that 99% of the information in document 3 is redacted, for the following reasons. First, we do not know the number of “use of force” applications, which would reveal how many times Patrick Lyoya was hit, kicked, tackled, tased and shot. Second, we don’t get to see how the cop determined the “effectiveness” of each application of the use of force. Third, we do not learn where the cop hit, kicked, tased or shot Patrick Lyoya, which prevents us from knowing the scope of the harm done to him. Lastly, we do not get to read the police officer’s narrative about the use of force, which would reveal how Officer Schurr recounted the harm he inflicted on Patrick Lyoya.

The fourth FOIA document (18 pages long) provides a narrative of each GRPD officer involved. Part of Officer Johnston is very revealing, in terms of how police see members of the public. Here is part of what he wrote:

I arrived onscene and saw Officer Schurr taking cover behind a tree on the parkway which was about 20 feet south of the location of his cruiser. I observed one male lying face down in the front yard of 17 Nelson Ave SE. The man’s hand was concealed underneath his body near his waist possibly concealing a weapon. I did not know if the suspect had shot at Officer Schurr, but Officer Schurr had stated that he was “10-4” just before I arrived. 

I then approached the downed man while other Officers maintained lethal force coverage while moving up with me. As we approached I observed a black angular object partially visible under the suspect’s left hip and initially thought it was the grip of a handgun, but as I got close enough to grab onto him I then was able to distinguish that it was Officer Schurr’s Body Camera that had apparently been dislodged during the struggle. I rolled the subject over, rolling him to the west and onto his back. I observed that Officer Schurr’s Taser was lying undrneath the suspect where his hand had been and also Officer Schurr’s Body Worn Camera, which was still recording. The Taser had been deployed and the wires and probes were on the ground. The man had blood coming from his nose and I could also see blood on the shoulder area of his sweater.

The tone of this narrative demonstrates the cold and calculated way that cops describe events and how they see people as “suspects.” The narratives also make it clear that the GRPD involved, especially Officer Schurr, believed he was following “proper procedure.” However, from a civilian point of view, this information should not be redacted and the public should be able to read all of the information in the case that doesn’t put witnesses at risk. Making this information public would not change how the police or the legal system will proceed in making their determinations or legal decisions. If the public was exposed to all of the this information, it would certainly increase the amount of public opposition in this case, and rightfully so. If the police and the legal system fear the “court of public opinion,” then that says more about how the system fears the public, especially a a fully informed public. #Justice4Patrick

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