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While hearing began today in the case against the GRPD cop who murdered Patrick Lyoya, a public protest was held outside the court house demanding justice

October 27, 2022

While all the attention was given to the court hearing that began today in the case against the former GRPD officer Christopher Schurr, the cop who shot Patrick Lyoya in the back of the head, there was an organized protest outside the 61st District Court in downtown Grand Rapids.

About 30 people began to gather outside of the Kent County Court building around noon on Thursday to continue to public demonstrate solidarity with the Lyoya family. One organizer told this writer that it was important that we continue to take action and apply pressure, any kind of pressure to win justice for Patrick Lyoya’s family.

Some of the people in the Justice4Patrick camp were inside the courtroom, to listen to what was being said and to monitor the process. This information was being shared with activists on the outside, with regular updates.

A brief rally was held outside the 61st District Court, where organizers kept making demands around convicting Schurr, around ending qualified immunity, around greater accountability of the police, and to defund the GRPD. It has been almost 7 months since Patrick Lyoya was pulled over for having an expired license plate on his car, where the cop escalated the situation, used his taser on Lyoya, kicked him repeatedly, then sat on top of him while he laid faced down on the ground and shot him in the back of the head.

There was constant GRPD presence outside during the protest, with cops on foot and cops in cars, monitoring those who were protesting. Eventually, those who had gathered in front of the court building began to walk and chant through downtown Grand Rapids, thus letting those working, shopping or living in downtown that there was still a community of people who were demanding justice for Patrick Lyoya.

People honked their horns in support, gave a thumbs up and some even yelled in favor of those who were marching for Patrick Lyoya. Not everyone was happy about the protest, nor the march. Some people in cars became impatient with the marchers, having to wait a few seconds more at an intersection, while the march weaved its way through the city. There were also a few people who, walking by the protest in front of the court building, made comments that were critical of those demonstrating. One woman even made the comment that, “he got what he deserved,” referring to Lyoya.

Having been part of the organized resistance since Patrick Lyoya was murdered on April 4th of this year, I was heartened by the turnout on this sunny Fall day. While the so-called justice system is often a system of oppression, I was struck by all the people who came, their passion, their dedication and how much they cared about each other and the affected community.

The preliminary hearing will continue Friday, followed by a timeline for when the actual trial will begin. Considering it is almost November, it seems likely that the trial will not take place until after the New Year. In tomorrow’s post, we will deconstruct the local news coverage of the court proceedings in the case against Chris Schurr for the murder of Patrick Lyoya.


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