Become a Patron!

Ever since Patrick Lyoya was murdered by the GRPD back in April, elected officials, cops and police apologists have been making the claim that Christopher Schurr’s use of force – shooting Patrick Lyoya in the back of the head – was justified because Patrick grabbed the cop’s taser.

This is the argument used on a recent Facebook post by the Grand Rapids-based Gerald R. Ford Metro Lodge #97, Fraternal Order of Police. The police union’s post from November 25th reads:

Anybody else seeing a pattern here? You disarm or grab an officer’s TASER, it unquestionably is a deadly force encounter. But not in Kent County…….here the prosecutor goes after you for political points. Unreal. End this madness.

Even with this comment, you can see that grabbing a cop’s taser is referred to as a “deadly force encounter,” meaning the cop gets to shoot the person who grabbed their taser.

The social media post included a link to a story out of Chicago about police officer who shot a Black man twice, once in the stomach and once in the back as he was running up an escalator, all because the Black man grabbed at the taser that was used on him twice during the encounter. You can see for yourself in the footage that the news story included.

After looking at the footage of this story and looking at the video footage that was released on the Patrick Lyoya case, I agree with the first sentence from the Gerald R. Ford Metro Lodge #97, Fraternal Order of Police social media post, I see a pattern here. And, in case anyone is fuzzy on what I mean, the pattern is that cops get to use deadly force, especially against Black people, when they touch or grab the cop’s taser, the very same weapon that was used against the person the cop was trying to detain.

What also makes the case in Chicago and what happened to Patrick Lyoya a pattern is that they were both stopped because of non-violent offenses. Patrick Lyoya was pulled over for having expired plates on his car and the Black man in Chicago was tased and shot by cop because he was moving from one train car to another one, which is a violation of a Chicago City ordinance.

What is also instructive about the post comments from the Gerald R. Ford Metro Lodge #97, Fraternal Order of Police social media post was the attack on Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker. The vitriol against Becker, who has received police union funding during previous political campaigns, continues in the comments section of the post. One comment reads:

The whole system is sickening .. BLM has already been debunked, proven that it was a money scam .. right is right wrong is wrong ..try to grab anything from my duty belt and it would be a seriously bad day for you.

I chose to highlight this police union social media post in part, because it exposes the hyper-defensiveness of cops, but mostly because we can expect to see more of the same arguments in the Patrick Lyoya case when Christopher Schurr goes to trial after the New Year. The same “use of force” arguments will be made by the lawyers defending Schurr, along with the expected commentary from the various police unions in Grand Rapids and police apologist groups that exist in this community.

This content was originally published here.