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USA. Grand Rapids policeman charged with murdering a Congo refugee

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Grand Rapids, Michigan police officer Christopher Schurr, who fatally shot a Congo refugee in April, was charged with second-degree murder. Kent Attorney Chris Becker announced on Thursday.

As he explained, the indictment was the most severe, given that there was no evidence of premeditation on the part of Schurr, who had himself brought himself to justice.

If convicted, he may be sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. “I wouldn’t be prosecuting if I didn’t think I could prove it,” said Becker, quoted by Detroit Free Press, the city’s largest newspaper.

Grand Rapids policeman charged with murdering a Congo refugeeReuters Archive

“Lyoya was a Congo refugee and was 26 when he was shot. His death sparked protests in Grand Rapids, Detroit and elsewhere as a reaction to police actions against blacks. It sparked discussions about the involvement of the authorities in ensuring racial equality, which the city has committed to doing in following the protests against racial injustice in 2020, the daily explained.

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Schurr has been with the Grand Rapids Police Department since 2015. After shooting the Congolese, he was sent on paid administrative leave.

According with a police recording during a Lyoya roadside check he seemed confused by what the officer was saying. He escaped from the car, and when Schurr caught him, there was a scuffle. After about 90 seconds, the policeman found himself on Lyoya, who was lying face down on the ground. Shouting “Let go of the stun gun!”, The policeman shot the Congolese man in the back of the head.

Main photo source: Reuters Archive

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