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Grand Rapids, Mich., officer pleads not guilty to murder

June 10 (UPI) -- A Grand Rapids, Mich., police officer pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting death of Patrick Lyoya during an arraignment Friday.

Officer Christopher Schurr attended the hearing virtually via zoom, WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids reported. The judge ordered him to be held on $100,000 bond.

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Schurr turned himself in to police Thursday after Kent County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Becker charged him in Lyoya's death during a scuffle after an April 4 traffic stop.

During the traffic stop, Lyoya appeared confused about what was happening and tried to pull away from the officer, prosecutors said, leading to a struggle that ended with Schurr killing Lyoya.

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An autopsy ordered by Lyoya's family showed he had been shot in the back of the head.

During Friday's arraignment, defense attorney Mark Dodge said his client "was justified in his use of force in this episode and is not guilty of this crime."

Lyoya was a 26-year-old Congolese refugee. His killing led to protests in Grand Rapids, Detroit and elsewhere. His family and supporters attended Friday's hearing.

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"Because a lot ot things were said, I was not quite sure with the truth in my hand. And I was thinking maybe there is no justice in America," said his father, Peter Lyoya.

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"And to go according to what the prosecutor just said, to charge the police officer who killed Patrick, Patrick is not coming back. We are not going to see him again. And to show at this point the police officer will be charged and is charged, that really brings consolation to our family."

The judge scheduled Schurr's next court appearance for June 21, WJBK-TV in Detroit reported.

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Schurr faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Doug Cunningham contributed to this report.

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