A Michigan police officer has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge for shooting a black motorist during a traffic stop that became violent.
The attorney for Grand Rapids Police Officer Christopher Schurr said he was “justified in his use of force” when he fatally shot Patrick Lyoya, 26, during a struggle on April 4.
“The defense submits that Officer Schurr, on this charge, was justified in his use of force in this episode and is not guilty in this crime,” said attorney Mark Dodge.
Schurr had reportedly pulled over Lyoya after suspecting that he was driving a stolen car because the license plate didn’t match the vehicle.
In footage of the incident, Lyoya can be seen getting out of the car before Schurr tells him to get back in it.
As Lyoya tries to walk away, Schurr follows him and the struggle begins. Schurr allegedly tried to draw a taser and fired it twice.
Once on top of the motorist, Schurr then pulls out his pistol and fatally shoots Lyoya in the back of the head.
A crowd formed at the courthouse with dozens of supporters of the officer wearing “#standwithschurr” T-shirts, reported CNN.
In the halls, supporters of Lyoya chanted “Justice for Patrick” and spoke to Schurr’s supporters.
According to WOOD-TV, one activist said “If you love him, tell him to quit his job. He might be next. If you care about these police officers, tell them all to quit their job, they might be next”.
Schurr was released Friday on $100,000 bond and will appear back in court on June 21.