We must not allow the tragic death of Mr. Lyoya, which he caused by his actions, to be used to divide us.
Byron Center, MI – The death of Mr. Patrick Lyoya right here in my district of Grand Rapids is certainly tragic. We pray for his family as they grieve. We also pray for Officer Schurr and his family, as he now faces a 2nd Degree Murder charge for defending himself against a potentially deadly attack from a noncompliant suspect - let alone the relentless attacks from the media, and from activists mobs seeking to use this tragic episode for political gain.
The sober fact is that Mr. Lyoya would still be alive today had he not been driving in a car with mismatched plates, gotten out of his car against Officer Schurr’s orders, fought with the officer, ran away from the traffic stop, stole Officer Schurr’s taser, then attempted to get on top of the officer and subdue him. Officer Schurr could have been incapacitated by his own stolen taser by a suspect much bigger than himself, which would have placed him in immediate danger of death.
These facts make it clear that, while undoubtedly tragic, Mr. Lyoya bears responsibility for his death due to his own actions.
As a black man whose parents grew up in segregated America, I understand as well as anyone that we must not let this tragic event, sadly caused by criminal behavior and not race, be used to create racial division and public disorder. And let us stand with Officer Schurr and his family during this difficult time.
Gibbs is available for phone and in-person interviews. Please contact AnneMarie Schieber at firstname.lastname@example.org.