A Michigan judge on Friday set bond at $100,000 for a Grand Rapids police officer who pleaded not guilty to a murder charge related to the April death of Patrick Lyoya.
Christopher Schurr, appearing by video from jail, said few words during the brief hearing as he mostly answered procedural questions about his rights and certain documents. Grand Rapids Judge Nicholas Ayoub entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.
The courtroom benches were full of spectators, some wearing T-shirts with pro-police slogans, including #StandwithSchurr.
Outside court, Lyoya supporters shouted, “Justice for Patrick!” and taunted Schurr’s backers, who said little in return.
Schurr’s Friday court hearing was related to the 26-year-old’s death, which occurred minutes after a traffic stop in April. Kent County prosecutor Chris Becker announced his decision Thursday to file the charges, though Schurr’s attorneys have argued that Lyoya had “gained control of” the officer’s weapon.
Lyoya, a 26-year-old from Conga, was on the ground when he was shot in the back of the head following an April 4 traffic stop that was caught on camera, officials have said.
Schurr, who is White, told Lyoya, who is Black, that he stopped his car because the license plate didn’t match the vehicle, officials have said. Roughly a minute later, Lyoya began to run after he was asked to produce a driver’s license, video from the stop shows.
Schurr caught him quickly, and the two struggled across a front lawn in the rain before the fatal shot.
Defense lawyers said the shooting was not “murder but an unfortunate tragedy” during a volatile situation.
“Mr. Lyoya gained full control of a police officer’s weapon while resisting arrest, placing Officer Schurr in fear of great bodily harm or death,” Matt Borgula and Mark Dodge said in a previous written statement.
Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom said he would recommend Schurr be fired, though he is entitled to a hearing and the ultimate decision would be up to the city manager. Schurr has been on leave since the shooting.
Schurr turned himself in and was being held at a jail outside Kent County.
His personnel file shows no complaints of excessive force but much praise for traffic stops and foot chases that led to arrests and the seizure of guns and drugs.
Grand Rapids, population about 200,000, is 160 miles west of Detroit.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.