‘There’s no question what killed this young man,’ says famed medical examiner of Patrick Lyoya, black man shot dead by Grand Rapids cop | Michigan News | Detroit
A world-renowned medical examiner has been asked to carry out an independent autopsy of Patrick Lyoya, the 26-year-old black man who was fatally shot in the back of the head by a Grand Rapids police officer after an early traffic stop of the month.
The autopsy was performed by Dr. Werner Spitz, a self-proclaimed 95-year-old “medical detective” from Michigan who has played a role in many famous investigations over the years, including those of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. . ., Casey Anthony and JonBenet Ramsey, among others.
Spitz revealed the autopsy results Tuesday at a press conference at the Westin Book Cadillac hotel in Detroit alongside attorneys Ben Crump and Ven Johnson, who represent Lyoya’s family.
At one point, Spitz held up a real human skull during the press conference, in which he had punched a hole to show how Lyoya had been killed. He said his forensic recreation of the bullet’s trajectory showed it went through the back of Lyoya’s skull and forward, but lodged under his skin above his right eye.
“There was no full exit,” Spitz said. “There was a skull exit, but not a head exit.”
Spitz said he did not observe any other injuries on Loyoya’s body.
He added: “There is no doubt what killed this young man.”
Crump said the investigation was important because Grand Rapids police would not initially say if Lyoya was shot in the back of the neck.
“We can confirm that he was shot in the back of the neck,” he said.
Spitz performed the autopsy at the Grand Rapids Funeral Home where Lyoya’s body was stored. A toxicology test was not performed because by the time Spitz gained access to Lyoya’s body, it was too late.
Johnson said it was typical for independent autopsies to be performed at funeral homes. Spitz performed the autopsy on Saturday and said it took about two hours to complete. Lyoya’s funeral is scheduled for Friday.
Lyoya and her family moved to Grand Rapids in 2014, part of a growing number of refugees fleeing violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was pulled over by a Grand Rapids police officer at 8:11 a.m. on April 4 over an unregistered license plate.
The officer, who has yet to be named, was shown on video telling Lyoya to get back in his car. When Lyoya didn’t obey, the officer tried to grab him, and when Lyoya tried to flee, the officer tackled him and tried to deploy a stun gun. A struggle ensued.
At some point during the fight, the officer’s body camera was turned off. The Grand Rapids Police Department said the device’s stop button was triggered, just before the cop pulled the trigger.
The police department has yet to release the body camera footage. However, a bystander captured video of the officer shooting Lyoya in the back of the head while he was pinned face down.
Johnson said they are asking the police department to release the body camera footage as part of a civil lawsuit. He expressed skepticism that the body camera could be accidentally turned off during combat, saying the button must be held down for a full three seconds to do so.
Johnson said he believes the combination of the autopsy and the video footage released so far shows that Lyoya did not fight or threaten the officer.
“You never see a knife, no baseball bat, no gun, nothing,” he said, calling the officer’s actions “an unnecessary use of deadly force.”
Crump added that the posted video begins with the officer turning around, suggesting the officer was driving in the opposite direction of Lyoya, and turned to stand behind Lyoya’s car to inspect his license plate. rear registration plate.
“How did the agent know that Patrick’s beacon recording was invalid, when he’s coming from the opposite direction?” he said, adding, “We have concluded that we need to investigate thoroughly to find out if this is a ‘DWB’ case, which we in the African American community know as a “Driving While Black” profiling case.”
Johnson said he believed he knew the officer’s identity, but Crump said they were waiting for police to release the name. He said he thought it was a double standard that if one of his clients killed a police officer, the police would release the name immediately.
Lyoya’s family demands the policeman’s dismissal.
“I call it an execution because I think it was so unnecessary,” Crump said.
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