Patrick Lyoya’s father says he and his family have a right to know the name of the white officer who fatally shot the 26-year-old Black man. Eric Winstrom, Grand Rapids, Mi., police chief, says he will do so only f the officer is charged in the April 4 shooting after brief foot chase and a struggle over the officer’s Taser, reports the Associated Press. Grand Rapids is among cities across the U.S. that have faced scrutiny for withholding identities of officers in cases where Black people were wounded or killed in interactions with police. Some have said it’s to protect the officers from retribution. Grand Rapids cites policies that prohibit the release of an officer’s name before charges are filed. “I’m asking for the law to release his face, his image and his identification because I would love to know the person who has killed my son. I have the right,” says Peter Lyoya.
Andrew Shannon of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference said police departments should treat officers who are under investigation like they would anyone else. “They always report who the suspect is and they report who the victim is, except in cases of rape,” Shannon said. “There should be no special treatment when law enforcement are involved in these types of matters. They should want to demonstrate transparency and openness so everyone can be fully apprised of the process.” Lyoya was facedown on the ground when an officer shot him in the back of the head while straddling Lyoya. The officer had stopped Lyoya for driving with a license plate that didn’t belong to the vehicle. Ben Crump, an attorney for Lyoya’s family, planned to release an independent autopsy on Tuesday. The prosecutor who will determine whether the officer will face charges has said not to expect a quick decision.