Autopsy Confirms Patrick Lyoya Was Shot in Back of Head by Police, Family Attorneys Say

An independent autopsy confirmed that Patrick Lyoya, a Black man, was shot in the back of the head by a white police officer in Grand Rapids, Michigan, attorneys for Lyoya’s family announced.

“Today, based on scientific evidence, we can confirm that Patrick Lyoya was shot in the back of his head,” civil rights attorney Ben Crump said at a press conference in Detroit on April 19.

“That is now scientific evidence of this tragic killing and what his family believes was an execution,” Crump added.

According to the report, read aloud by Crump, Lyoya “was conscious and aware of the fact that a gun was being held to the back of his head. Death was instantaneous when the gun was fired.”

Dr. Werner Spitz, a 95-year-old forensic pathologist and former medical examiner who worked on several prominent cases, including the investigations of the assassinations of former President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., performed the autopsy commissioned by Lyoya’s family.

Spitz reported that there were no other injuries found in the autopsy, which family attorney Ven Johnson said indicated that Lyoya, 26, was not actively fighting the police officer during an April 4 traffic stop.

The officer has not been publicly identified and is on paid leave, Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom said at a press conference last week.

Winstrom said the identity of the officer will only be released if criminal charges are filed.

Michigan State Police is handling the investigation into Lyoya’s death and will hand over their findings to the Kent County Prosecutor’s office for review on whether charges should be filed in the case.

Crump said that his team is working on a civil rights lawsuit and will independently and intensely” investigate Lyoya’s death.

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