Ann Arbor, Michigan / United States – June 9 2020: We Want Justice protest George Floyd protest downtown Ann Arbor Michigan police brutality thousands of protesters holding black lives matter sign. (Shutterstock)
By Mike Householder and Ed White, AP
DETROIT (AP) — An independent autopsy confirms that Patrick Lyoya, a Black man, was shot in the back of the head by a Michigan police officer while facedown on the ground, lawyers for his family said Tuesday.
The finding by a former Detroit-area medical examiner matches what was seen last week on video released by the Grand Rapids police chief. The official autopsy report hasn’t been released to the public.
Lyoya was killed at the end of a traffic stop in western Michigan on April 4. He and the white officer physically struggled on the ground before the 26-year-old refugee from Congo was shot.
Lyoya wasn’t armed, though the officer was heard on video demanding that he take his hand off a police Taser.
“This independent autopsy report confirms what we all witnessed in the horrifying video footage: Unarmed Patrick Lyoya was conscious until the bullet entered his head, instantly ending what could have been a long and fruitful life,” attorney Ben Crump said.
The autopsy was performed by Dr. Werner Spitz. Crump said Lyoya could have lived until his early 80s.
Lyoya’s death has outraged his family as well as many people who have watched video of the confrontation with an officer.
The officer, whose name hasn’t been released, is heard saying during a traffic stop that the license plate didn’t match the car. Lyoya declined to get back into the vehicle as ordered, and a short foot chase ensued.
In the final moments, the officer was on top of Lyoya, trying to subdue him. He fired his gun after demanding that Lyoya drop his police Taser.
State police will give their findings to the Kent County prosecutor for consideration of any charges.
Lyoya’s funeral is planned for Friday at Renaissance Church of God in Christ in Grand Rapids. The Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network said it will help cover the cost. He will deliver a eulogy.