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Protesters gather in Lansing to protest the death of Patrick Lyoya

lyoya-protest-march.jpg
Michelle Jokisch Polo | WKAR-MSU
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Patrick Lyoya's family march at a protest held in Lansing.

Demonstrators marched to the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing Thursday protesting the killing of Patrick Lyoya by a Grand Rapids police officer.

Around 100 people descended on the Capitol steps after marching from the corner of Michigan and Pennsylvania Avenues.

Lyoya was shot in the back of the head during a traffic stop in Grand Rapids earlier this month.

We are here respecting the family's wishes, first and foremost, and when we say we are respecting those wishes, we mean we are going to fight tooth and nail for Patrick to specifically have justice.
Kerrington Kelsey, Black Lives Matter Lansing

Kerrington Kelsey is with Black Lives Matter Lansing and was one of the protest’s organizers. He says he wants the police to be held accountable for Lyoya’s death.

“He lived in Grand Rapids, but Lansing is where his family resided," he added. "We are here respecting the family’s wishes, first and foremost, and when we say we are respecting those wishes, we mean we are going to fight tooth and nail for Patrick to specifically have justice."

Kelsey says that justice includes identifying and prosecuting the officer responsible for his death.

Joining the protest in support were other Black Lives Matter chapters from around the state. DeWaun Robinson is the president of Black Lives Matter Flint.

“We have to hold him accountable,” he said. “What he did was wrong killing an innocent Black man the way that he did. It was very hurtful. I am very upset.”

Robinson says he would like to see the officer prosecuted for what he did to Lyoya.

“We have to get folks at the table to make policy, and also we have to keep raising awareness and continue to lift up the Lyoya family,” he added.

Lyoya’s immediate family also marched with demonstrators. Through an interpreter, Patrick’s father Peter Lyoya addressed the group of protesters from the Capitol’s steps.

“What’s so amazing is to see how Patrick was killed by a police officer, the same person who is supposed to be protecting his life. Just to say the truth: I am asking for justice for my son Patrick.”

The Lyoyas immigrated to the United States from the Democratic Republic of Congo six years ago.

We ran away from there because of the violence, killing, war, but I am so surprised that this is where I came to lose my son.
Dorca Lyoya

Dorca Lyoya, Patrick’s mother, speaking through an interpreter, told the crowd her heart is deeply broken because of the death of her son.

“We ran away from there because of the violence, killing, war but I am so surprised that this is where I came to lose my son,” she said. “I am asking justice for my son Patrick.”

Lyoya’s family have also called for the release of the name of the officer responsible for Patrick’s death. Officials say they won’t publicly identify the officer unless charges are filed.

The Michigan State Police is conducting an investigation of the incident. Once that investigation is complete, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker will decide if charges will be filed against the officer.

Lyoya’s funeral is scheduled to take place Friday at Renaissance Church of God in Christ in Grand Rapids. The family is asking supporters to join them at the funeral.