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Condition of Police Taser Will Figure In Probe of Michigan Man's Death

The fatal shooting of Patrick Lyoya in Michigan raises questions about why a traffic stop turned into a foot chase and tussle before Lyoya was killed by a police officer while facing the ground. Lyoya, a 26-year-old Black man, was shot in the head in Grand Rapids, Mi., on April 4. The police chief took the unusual step of releasing videos of the violent confrontation over objections of the prosecutor, who will decide whether the white officer should be charged. “It is an unjustifiable use of deadly force because the police escalated a traffic stop into an execution,” said Lyoya family attorney Benjamin Crump, the Associated Press reports.

Video showed Lyoya emerging from a car and refusing the officer’s command to get back inside, then running away in the residential neighborhood. The officer said he stopped the car because the license plate didn’t match the vehicle.vThe pair wrestled as the officer demanded that Lyoya give up. Before shooting Lyoya, the officer loudly claimed that the man had possession of his police Taser. “Beyond the videos, I think the biggest factors will be the condition of the Taser and what, if anything, the motorist was trying to do with it,” said Seth Stoughton, a professor at University of South Carolina School of Law. “If the Taser only held the cartridge that had already been discharged, that means it could only be used to ‘drive stun,’ which hurts but doesn’t have any real risk of incapacitating an officer. ... Whether the Taser could realistically be used to disable the officer is hugely important.”


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