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Media Coverage of Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker doesn’t inspire and doesn’t create a counter narrative to the one sent out by the killer cops’ lawyers

January 31, 2023

Remember the message that the lawyers representing Christopher Schurr, the ex-cop who shot Patrick Lyoya in the back of the head, presented to the news media on January 11th? Schurr’s lawyers presented a 45 page brief laying out several arguments over why his case should be dismissed. 

The local news media cited several of those same reasons why Schurr’s case should be dismissed, plus most of the local news outlets included a link to the 45 page brief, as we noted in a post from January 12.

The response from Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker, who brought a second degree murder charge against Schurr, was not even picked up by all of the local news agencies. In fact, there is no evidence that Becker’s office even provided a Media Release, since we could not find any on the Kent County Prosecutor’s site, nor the Kent County Clerk or the County Administrators section of 

WOODTV8, WXMI17 and WWMT did not run a story on Becker’s announcement, just MLive, WZZM 13 and the Associated Press ran the story. As of January 31st, to access the MLive story you needed to be a subscriber.

The WZZM 13 story was short with channel 13 providing this narrative from the Prosecutor’s office:

Becker says in court documents that the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding probable cause to bind Schurr over on the second-degree murder charge. 

Therefore, he argues, Schurr’s request to quash the bind over should be denied. 

Becker believes there is enough evidence for the murder charge as opposed to the lesser count of manslaughter.

The channel 13 piece is so short, they decided to include information about the lawsuit that Patrick Lyoya’s family has filed against the City of grand Rapids. 

The Associated Press (AP) story is also brief, with the following narrative based on what the Kent County Prosecutor’s office had shared:

Becker said in court documents filed Tuesday that the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding probable cause to bind Schurr over on the charge. Therefore, Schurr’s request to dismiss the charge should be denied, the prosecutor said. 

The AP story did state that Kent County Circuit Judge Christina Elmore will hear both sides’ arguments during a motion hearing scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on February 3rd, plus they included the date that the trial will start, which is March 13. The WZZM 13 story did not mention the February 3rd motion hearing date, they only said there was “a hearing next week.”

The Kent County Prosecutor’s office missed a huge opportunity to create a counter narrative, which could have included clear reasons for why this case should go to trial. None of that happens in the local news coverage of Becker’s response to the lawyers representing the ex-cop who shot Patrick Lyoya in the back of the head. 

The message coming from Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker does not inspire and it does not create a counter narrative, which is crucial at this point, especially since the lawyers representing Schurr have hammered home their particular narrative. This battle is not just a legal one, it is about public perception, and right now the Kent County Prosecutor is losing the propaganda war. 

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