Patrick Lyoya’s father claims that he and his family are entitled to know the identity of , the white officer who shot the 26-year old Black man.
Grand Rapids police chief says he won’t do it unless the officer involved in the shooting on April 4th, which followed a short foot chase and a fight over the Taser.
Eric Winstrom’s Department is one of many in the U.S. to have come under scrutiny for withholding officers’ identities when Black people were injured or killed while interacting with police. Some claim it is to protect officers from retribution. Grand Rapids is another example of a policy that prevents officers from releasing their names before they are charged.
“I am asking the law to release his name, image, and identification. I want to find the killer of my son.” Peter Lyoya stated that he has the right through a translator at an emotional news conference following the release of video of his son’s shooting.
Andrew Shannon, president and vice president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Peninsula Chapter, stated that officers under investigation should be treated like any other officer by police departments.
Shannon said that law enforcement always report the identity of the suspect and the victim, except for cases of rape. These types of cases should not be given special treatment by law enforcement. They should be transparent and open to allow everyone to fully understand the process.
Lyoya lay facedown on the ground and an officer shot him in his back while straddling Lyoya. Lyoya was stopped by the officer for having a license plate that did not belong to his vehicle.
Lyoya, a Congo native, will be laid to rest Friday in Grand Rapids (150 miles (240 km) northwest of Detroit). The Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy.
Winstrom claimed he couldn’t release the name of the officer, but he did release video footages of the shooting, citing transparency. Lyoya could be heard repeatedly telling him to “let go” and at one point requesting: “Drop your Taser!”
Ben Crump, Lyoya’s attorney, was planning to release the results of an independent autopsy Tuesday.
The Michigan State Police are conducting an investigation. The prosecutor who will decide if the officer will face any charges has said that he does not expect to make a decision quickly.
Monday’s email from Grand Rapids police stated that the name, age and basic information of a person can be released after an arrest or issuing an arrest warrant.
Jennifer Kalczuk stated that “not releasing the officer’s name is consistent” with the procedure.
These policies can vary from one city to the next.
Chicago changed its approach to such cases in October 2014 when a white officer shot Laquan McDonald (16 times). The prosecutors released Jason Van Dyke’s identity in that case. He was later charged with murder and video of the shooting was released. Federal authorities have said that they won’t criminally indict Van Dyke on Monday.
The city has made some changes to address criticisms about the McDonald’s shooting. Although police will not release the name of an officer unless they are charged, the agency responsible for reviewing those shootings does. The city policy requires that the video be released within 60-days.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability released the names of officers last year after two fatal police shootings, one of which was a 13-year old boy. The officers will not face charges, according to the prosecution.
Ephraim Eaddy, spokesperson for the agency, stated that it had concluded that the names of officers cannot be kept back as they are public servants.
The names of Chicago officers involved in two shootings in 2021 seemed swift. However, the Kenosha police officer who shot Jacob Blake multiple times in 2020 was released in lightning speed.
Three days later, the Wisconsin Department of Justice published a news release in which Officer Rusten Sheskey was named.
According to Kenosha Police Lt. Joseph Nosalik, the decision was made after Kenosha Police Department turned the investigation over the the state’s Justice Department for “complete transparency”.
Nosalik stated that he was happy with the decision. Nosalik stated that if the department had refused to release the name, he would have called the department to inquire why.
He stated that the public has a right of information and that unless there is a legitimate reason such as it could put the safety of the officer or his family in danger, I don’t see any reason why the name shouldn’t be released.”
He stated that the Kenosha police had moved to “extricate Sheskey’s relatives from their home” after learning they could be in danger.
Crump, the Lyoyas attorney, stated that the family would be able to learn more about the officer by having his name.
Crump stated last week that “we want to know his past.” “I can assure you, they’re going all out to find Patrick’s history to assassinate him.”