Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Former Police Officer to Stand Trial for Patrick Lyoya’s Murder

Christopher Schurr will go to trial for fatally shooting Patrick Lyoya in the back of the head during a traffic stop in April in Michigan. To truly win justice, we need to continue to organize against the police and the system they uphold.

Facebook Twitter Share
Christopher Schurr, who murdered Patrick Lyoya in Grand Rapids, MI, sits in a court room.

Today, Grand Rapids District Judge Nicholas Ayoub ruled that former Grand Rapids police officer Christopher Schurr will stand trial for the murder of Patrick Lyoya, a 26 year-old Black refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Schurr is charged with a single count of second-degree murder for shooting Patrick Lyoya in the head at point-blank range during a traffic stop.

Judge Ayoub made the decision after reviewing evidence, including a graphic video of the killing, presented at a two-day preliminary hearing where the prosecution and defense argued whether there was enough evidence to take Schurr’s case to trial. Schurr has pleaded not-guilty. 

That Schurr will be charged is welcome news to the movement in Grand Rapids in particular as well as the broader movement against police brutality and systemic racism. Activists in Grand Rapids continue to organize, even in the face of systematic repression by the Grand Rapids Police Department and Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker. This repression was recently expressed in the outrageous imprisonment of activist Brittany “B” Hawkins for spray painting a police barricade and for possessing a personal taser, which they carry for their own protection. Republican Circuit Court Judge Curt Benson imprisoned B for three months on these minor charges, which would normally not result in prison time, illustrating the lengths the state will go to repress the movement to win justice for Patrick Lyoya and other victims of police brutality. Several other movement leaders in Grand Rapids are also facing charges, including felonies, for protesting Patrick’s murder.

Organizers, including those with Detroit Will Breathe, have circulated a call for B’s release. Supporters are encouraged to call Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office at (517) 335-7858 to demand that Whitmer use her gubernatorial powers to defend the democratic right to protest, pardon B, and secure their immediate release from prison.

B’s case demonstrates that although Schurr’s charging is a victory for the movement, the fight for justice is far from over. The state was forced to charge Schurr in an attempt to quell the movement. But activists know that Schurr is one bad cop in a rotten system. Cops across Michigan and the country unleash unspeakable violence against Black people, poor communities, the working class, and so many others.

Through the cops and the courts, the state is locking up activists like B — and many other political prisoners from BLM and other movements — to dissuade dissent against this evil and repressive system. From Patrick Lyoya to B, we can see that the police are little more than armed thugs who enforce capitalism’s reign of exploitation and oppression.

To truly win justice for Patrick, B, and other activists facing charges in Grand Rapids and across the US, we need to continue to organize against not just the police but the system they uphold.

Facebook Twitter Share

United States

Liberal Towns in New Jersey Are Increasing Attacks on Pro-Palestine Activists

A group of neighbors in South Orange and Maplewood have become a reference point for pro-Palestine organizing in New Jersey suburbs. Now these liberal towns are upping repression against the local activists.

Samuel Karlin

April 12, 2024

“We Shouldn’t Let this Stop Us”: Suspended Columbia Student Activist Speaks Out

Aidan Parisi, a student at Columbia University’s School of Social Work, was recently suspended and has been threatened with eviction from their graduate student housing for pro-Palestinian activism on campus. Aidan talked to Left Voice about the state of repression, the movement at Columbia, and the path forward for uniting the student movement with the labor movement and other movements against oppression.

Left Voice

April 11, 2024

The Movement for Palestine Needs Independent, Working-Class Politics

As the brutal genocide of Palestinians continues with the help of the Biden administration, there is maneuver underway to co-opt the movement for Palestine. We need to have a democratic and independent movement that relies on the power of the working class, the student movement, and mobilizations in the streets.

Tatiana Cozzarelli

April 7, 2024
A hand holds a phone which displays the TikTok Logo

We Don’t Want TikTok Under Control of U.S. Capitalists — Put It Under the Control of its Workers and Users

The U.S. government wants to force the sale of the incredibly popular Chinese social media app. A TikTok owned by U.S. capitalists will only make things worse. We want TikTok under workers' control!

Nathaniel Flakin

April 6, 2024


Thousands of Police Deployed to Shut Down Congress on Palestine in Berlin

This weekend, a Palestine Congress was supposed to take place in the German capital. But 2,500 police were mobilized and shut down the event before the first speech could be held. Multiple Jewish comrades were arrested.

Nathaniel Flakin

April 12, 2024

Fired by a German University for Solidarity with Palestine — Interview with Nancy Fraser

The University of Cologne canceled a guest professorship with the philosophy professor from The New School. In this interview, she speaks about Germany dividing between "Good Jews" and "Bad Jews," her politicization in the civil rights movement, and her time in an Israeli kibbutz.

Nathaniel Flakin

April 10, 2024

Pro-Palestine Activists in France Get Summons from Anti-Terrorist Police

As part of a repressive campaign against the movement for Palestine in France activists have gotten summons from “anti-terrorist” police. The movement for Palestine in the United States must oppose all repression of our movement here and in Europe.

Samuel Karlin

April 9, 2024

‘You Have to Change Things from the Root’: Interview With a Young Immigrant

Left Voice interviewed a 23-year-old immigrant, factory worker, and student, who told us about his experience crossing the border from Mexico to the U.S. and about the life of Latin American youth in the United States.

Left Voice

April 5, 2024