A lawsuit will proceed in Michigan against an ex-officer in the fatal shooting of a Black man
A Michigan city has been dismissed from a lawsuit over the fatal police shooting of a Black motorist, but the case will continue against a former officer who killed the man in 2022.
U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney said immunity doesn't apply to Christopher Schurr at this early stage of the litigation.
Schurr was a Grand Rapids officer when he shot Patrick Lyoya, 26, in the back of the head at the end of a brief foot chase and intense physical struggle. He was subsequently fired and has been charged with second-degree murder.
The judge noted that lawyers on each side in the civil case still need to conduct interviews and likely consult experts, a process known as discovery.
The lawsuit says Lyoya “was not a threat and the video footage is unclear as to this issue," Maloney said Monday. “But if Patrick did not pose a threat, then Schurr was certainly not entitled to use deadly force, and in turn, is not entitled to qualified immunity.”
Qualified immunity is a legal standard that can protect police officers in excessive force lawsuits, as long as their actions didn't violate clearly established law which they should have known about.
Separately, the judge dismissed a claim against the city of Grand Rapids. Maloney said lawyers failed to show that a lack of police training had a direct role in the shooting.
In the criminal case, Schurr’s attorney, Matt Borgula, has said the shooting was justified because Schurr was met with force during a lawful arrest. The criminal matter is on hold while an appeal is pending at the Michigan Court of Appeals.