By WMrapids - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=116869814
After reviewing the press conference held by the Grand Rapids Police Department, our hearts shatter for the Lyoya family. Patrick Lyoya immigrated to the United States from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was both a loving Black father and a beloved Black son. Today, we acknowledge a reoccurring and intolerable pain that only comes from lived experience.
On April 4, 2022, Patrick Lyoya was racially profiled and murdered by a Grand Rapids police officer during a traffic stop. Traffic stops have become life and death for Black and Brown people. Patrick was shot in the back of the head by a Grand Rapids police officer lying on his stomach-unarmed. Fleeing the police doesn't justify anyone's execution.
As taxpayers, families, parents, and Michigan residents - we are appalled by the systemic lack of access to inclusive public safety for Black and brown citizens in this country. Patrick Lyoya should have woken up to his son this morning.
The murder of Patrick Lyoya also proves the fight against police brutality is a fight for immigrant rights. Black and Brown people, especially immigrants, are plagued with racial profiling, rigorous stops and searches, incarceration, deportation, and murder by law enforcement because of racism. State-sanctioned racial profiling by law enforcement and lackluster immigration policies for Black and Brown immigrants systemically reinforce injustices against Black and Brown people.
Today we demand justice. We demand transformative policy that includes the Grand Rapids Police Department partaking in de-escalation training, call for a clear pathway to citizenship—and an end to the trauma experienced by people of color at the hands of police.