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Michigan authorities release body cam video of officer-involved shooting

By Ashley Williams
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Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old Michigan man, is seen on body cam footage speaking with a Grand Rapids police officer on April 4 during a traffic stop. Screenshot: Grand Rapids Police Department
Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old Michigan man, is seen on body cam footage speaking with a Grand Rapids police officer on April 4 during a traffic stop. Screenshot: Grand Rapids Police Department

April 14 (UPI) -- A Grand Rapids police officer's body cam went black seconds before he fatally shot a Michigan man in the back of the head during an April 4 traffic stop, newly released footage shows.

An unnamed officer and 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya were involved in a struggle during the stop.

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The officer claims in the body cam audio recording that he pulled Lyoya over due to a mismatched license plate on the vehicle he was driving.

A video compilation, shared with the public at a Wednesday press conference, shows the escalating struggle between Lyoya and the officer through dash cam, body cam, cellphone and nearby home security footage.

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The release of the footage, which is labeled with a graphic warning, has sparked renewed protests from frustrated Grand Rapids citizens demanding justice in the April 4 shooting and similar recent police-involved shootings.

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The clips show from different perspectives how the officer exited his patrol car and approached Lyoya on a rainy Monday, commanding Lyoya to get back in his car.

"Do you have a driver's license? Do you speak English?" the officer can be heard via body cam footage asking Lyoya, who pauses and says, "yes," and asks the officer several times what he has done wrong.

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Lyoya can be seen opening the vehicle door and requesting that the passenger inside, whose identity is blurred, pass over his license.

After a brief period, Lyoya closes his car door without his license and is seen walking toward the hood of the vehicle.

The officer reaches toward the man and grabs him, saying, "no, no, stop, put your hands behind your head."

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Lyoya struggles against the officer and moves away from him, becoming fully visible as he faces the body camera.

The man begins jogging away from the officer, who calls it in on his radio, the body cam video shows.

Over the next few moments of the footage, the officer and Lyoya struggle on the ground of a nearby resident's yard.

The resident, wearing a white shirt, comes out of their home.

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The officer asks Lyoya to stop resisting, and he responds "OK, OK," several times.

Meanwhile, the passenger of Lyoya's vehicle exits the vehicle and begins recording the altercation on his cellphone.

The situation continues to escalate as the officer pulls out and aims a yellow taser at Lyoya, who grabs it.

The officer repeatedly commands him to stop grabbing the taser.

The officer again pins Lyoya on the ground and reaches for his gun, a move that can be seen from cellphone footage.

"Stop grabbing the taser!" he shouts a final time before a loud gunshot is heard.

At the moment Lyoya is fatally shot, the officer's body camera deactivates.

The home security camera across the street and the passenger's cellphone continued to document the shooting and aftermath.

Grand Rapids police chief Eric Winstrom said the body cam deactivated after being pressed down for 3 seconds during the struggle, the Detroit News reported.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Winstrom thanked the public for their patience while awaiting the video's release.

"I intend to continue to be forthright and transparent during the ongoing investigation, which is under the control of the Michigan State Police," he wrote, later calling the recorded events that unfolded "a progression of sadness."

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The officer who shot Lyoya has not been charged and remains on unpaid leave during the investigation.

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