US NEWS Patrick Lyoya was lying down, shot in the back...

Patrick Lyoya was lying down, shot in the back of the head by Michigan police officer, independent autopsy says

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Patrick Lyoya was killed by a single gunshot wound to the back of his head, fired by a Grand Rapids, Mich., police officer while he was laying face down on the ground, according to an independent autopsy commissioned by his family.

The 26-year-old Black man, a refugee from Congo, was fatally shot during a traffic stop in western Michigan on April 4, according to police. Surveillance footage released last week and compiled from a body camera, a doorbell camera and other video, shows the unidentified officer tell Lyoya to get out of the car after claiming that his license plate did not match the car.

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Lyoya and the officer struggled as the cop repeatedly yelled for him to “stop,” before pulling out his Taser and attempting to fire it.

Peter Lyoya holds up a picture of his son Patrick Lyoya, 26, in his home in Lansing, Mich. (Anna Nichols/AP)

“Let go of the Taser!” the officer shouted as Lyoya appears to try to grab the stun gun.

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After the struggle continues, the officer ends up on top of Lyoya and fires once, killing him.

The independent autopsy was performed by Dr. Werner Spitz, a Michigan-based forensic pathologist who previously tested in the trials of OJ Simpson, Casey Anthony and Phil Spector.

The results from the official autopsy by the Kent County Medical Examiner is still pending toxicology results, a spokesperson confirmed to the Daily News Tuesday. She declined to comment on Spitz’s report.

Protesters chant in front of police blocking an on ramp to Interstate 196 as they march through downtown Grand Rapids, Mich., on Saturday.
Protesters chant in front of police blocking an on ramp to Interstate 196 as they march through downtown Grand Rapids, Mich., on Saturday. (Daniel Shular | MLive.com/AP)

“This independent autopsy report confirms what we all witnessed in the horrifying video footage: Unarmed Patrick Lyoya was conscious until the bullet entered his head, instantly ending what could have been a long and fruitful life,” the family’s attorney, Ben Crump, said in a statement Tuesday.

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“This young man and his family moved to the United States to pursue a better and safer life, yet he was brutally killed at the hands of a police officer, who failed to deescalate the situation before he took Patrick’s life.”

The police officer who fatally shot Lyoya has not yet been publicly identified and a spokesperson for the Grand Rapids Police Department told The News that it would be “inappropriate to comment on any aspect of the case” while the investigation is underway.

Lawyers representing Lyoya’s family, including Crump, have called for him to be named, fired and charged.

“The Grand Rapids Police Department and the officer who pulled the trigger that killed our client, must be held accountable,” attorney Ven Johnson said Tuesday, according to WOOD. “This isn’t the first case we’ve pursued against The City of Grand Rapids for the use of excessive force. The department continues to claim it will make changes to its use of force policy. Clearly, that hasn’t happened. This was a preventable homicide.”

Michigan State Police will handle the investigation and then hand the report over to the Kent County prosecutor, who will decide whether or not to file charges.

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