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'Revictimizing the victims': Lyoya family lawyer says investigation is taking too long

Attorney Ven Johnson says Kent County Prosecutor Chris becker is waiting 'until he's good and ready' to announce a result of the patrick lyoya investigation
Credit: AP
Family and friends react during the funeral for Patrick Lyoya at the Renaissance Church of God in Christ Family Life Center in Grand Rapids, Mich. on Friday, April 22, 2022. The Rev. Al Sharpton demanded that authorities publicly identify the Michigan officer who killed Patrick Lyoya, a Black man and native of Congo who was fatally shot in the back of the head after a struggle, saying at Lyoya's funeral Friday: “We want his name!" (Cory Morse/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Wednesday, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker provided an update on his investigation into the killing of Patrick Lyoya by Grand Rapids Police Officer Christopher Schurr. 

Becker's statement said the investigation would take more time, and he needed to consult with state and national experts. Lyoya was killed on April 4, 44 days prior to the statement's release.

"I've got two forensic pathology experts. I had them within seven days after the shooting," Said Ven Johnson, one of the lawyers representing the Lyoya family.

 "I'd had an independent autopsy done within seven days of the shooting. Why is it that I can do all these things in less than a week and the guy whose job it is to either prosecute or not prosecute, is taking 44 days?"

To say Johnson is unhappy with Becker's statement does not do it justice. He said this is reopening a wound for Patrick Lyoya's family over and over again, and said the investigation should have been over by now.

"This is re-victimizing the victims," Johnson said. "Charges should have been brought a long time ago. And now the prosecutors come forward and basically said, I'll get to it when I get to it."

In looking back at previous coverage by 13 On Your Side, Becker takes an average of 44.8 days to announce a decision for officer involved shooting investigations. Johnson was careful to point out every situation is different, and each investigation should be looked at in isolation, but he is concerned by a pattern if these previous investigations.

In 11 officer involved shootings we covered, Becker has only charged one officer with a misdemeanor - Careless discharge of a firearm resulting in property damage. In the ten others, 4 of which were fatal, all officers were cleared of wrongdoing.

"Everything is different. You need to look at the facts and circumstances of this case," Johnson said. "But it This better be a love 10 out of 12, these better be charges because this video, these videos are so crystal clear."

Becker has commented previously that he does not have a conflict of interest in this case, and will not recuse himself. 

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