A lawyer for a Grand Rapids, Michigan police officer charged with second-degree murder in the murder of a black man, said during the officer’s arraignment that his client “was justified in his appeal to force,” CNN reported.
Christopher Schurr’s attorney, Mark Dodge, claimed on Friday that Schurr, who is white, was not guilty of the charge when he shot and killed Patrick Lyoya in the back of the head on April 4 while he was trying to stop him for a traffic violation.
Dodge also said Schurr offered “nothing but cooperation” during the investigation.
The 26-year-old’s death drew national attention after videos of the traffic stop were released to the public, Bridge Michigan reported.
Lyoya can be seen in video footage from Schurr before being chased down. Then, after brawling with the officer for several minutes, Lyoya was shot. An autopsy report revealed that Lyoya was then severely intoxicated, with a blood alcohol level over three times the legal limit for driving.
Lyoya, an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo, reportedly had a revoked driver’s license and two outstanding arrest warrants when he was arrested. One of the warrants was issued on April 1 for a domestic violence charge, according to MLive.
In an April statement, the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association called the situation “tragic” but defended steps taken by Schurr to subdue Lyoya.
The union wrote that it believes a “thorough examination of this entire situation will show that a police officer has the legal right to protect himself and the community in a dangerous and volatile situation such as this, in order to return to his family at the end of their shift.
A judge set Schurr’s bail at $100,000, provided he doesn’t drink alcohol, use drugs or own firearms — among other requirements, according to CNN.
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