Video footage showed the Grand Rapids officer struggling with 26-year-old Lyoya before shooting him while he was on the ground. Police released four videos of the shooting, including cellphone footage.
Lyoya, a Congolese immigrant, was unarmed. Police say he was stopped for a license plate violation and ran from the scene. An independent autopsy confirmed Lyoya was shot in the back of the head while lying face-down on the ground.
Lyoya’s family called for justice in the case and hundreds marched in Grand Rapids to demand accountability for his death.
Christopher Schurr, the officer who shot Lyoya, was fired from the police department after waiving his right to a hearing. He had served for seven years and had no excessive force complaints on his record.
The fact that Schurr shot Lyoya hasn’t been disputed. The question before the judge was whether or not it constituted murder.
Schurr’s lawyers claimed he was acting in self-defense, in accordance with police department policies. Prosecutors said the shooting wasn’t justified.
The judge ruled that those are questions that must be decided by a jury.