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Stateside Podcast: Black Grand Rapids residents renew call for police reform

 Dorcas Lyoya, the mother of Patrick Lyoya, speaks at a press conference on Thursday, April 14, 2022.
Dorcas Lyoya, the mother of Patrick Lyoya, speaks at a press conference on Thursday, April 14, 2022.

It’s not news to Black folks in Grand Rapids that interactions with the police can go south fast. With the investigation into Patrick Lyoya’s shooting underway, advocates say this awful, awful outcome was all too predictable.

Today on the pod, we talked to Cle Jackson, president of the Greater Grand Rapids NAACP and Kareem Scales, administrator of operations at the organization, about the efforts to reform the Grand Rapids Police Department over the years—and what Lyoya's death tells us about how much traction that reform has gained.

"There have been ebbs and flows, where you know, different chiefs have allowed different levels of access for community members. But at the end of all of that, the conversation seems to be the same," said Jackson, a lifelong Grand Rapids resident.

We also got an update about the independent autopsy of Lyoya's body from Michigan Radio reporter Dustin Dwyer. He said the autopsy confirmed what was shown in the video footage of the incident—that Lyoya was shot in the back of the head. The doctor who preformed the autopsy also said that Lyoya showed no other signs of injury.

"And what that suggested, according to Lyoya's family's attorneys, is that Lyoya wasn't really fighting the officer at the time that he was shot," Dwyer explained.

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April Van Buren
April Van Buren is a producer for Stateside. She produces interviews for air as well as web and social media content for the show.