Patrick Lyoya Death Prompts LPWM Reaction

Patrick Lyoya Death Prompts LPWM Reaction

Patrick Lyoya's death prompted a ceremony and protest march starting at the Spirit of Detroit. Photo by Scotty Boman.

Link to the May 2022 Michigan Libertarian

Grand Rapids, MI – Members of the Libertarian Party of West Michigan (LPWM) took action following the killing of Patrick Lyoya. This action included a formal statement and an open letter to the Grand Rapids City Manager.

LPWM Statement GRPD Shooting of Patrick Lyoya

In light of recent events regarding the tragic shooting and death of Patrick Lyoya at the hands of a GRPD officer; the Libertarian Party of West Michigan (LPWM) believes in and advocates for the following in order to reduce the amount of encounters civilians have with police officers that can, and far too often do, go from nonviolent to violent where deadly force is used and someone is killed.

Be it resolved that the LPWM believes in and advocates for the following:

While accepting the current reality of policing and that police exist, we believe that so-called “violations”, such as improper vehicle registration along with other laws and revenue-generating methods should be set to the lowest level of priority for enforcement. This would allow for officers to pursue egregious offenses, which in turn directly helps and protects the communities that they are patrolling; reducing unnecessary encounters with police that at best are for revenue-generating purposes, and at worst, become the scene of a tragic death. This is not the first time the City of Grand Rapids has done this either. Various decriminalization efforts over the past decade have shifted a focus in policing away from things like marijuana; or more recently, the decriminalization of naturally-occurring psychedelic substances. During 2020 and into 2021, prioritization of missing plates or expired tags was far lower than in previous years, this rang true throughout the state. There were no visible negative changes because of these decisions, and as a result police resources were better prioritized, keeping more people safe by limiting encounters.

Prevention of these situations is the ultimate goal. Be it that they do occur, we advocate that officers are held accountable and to the same standards that their civilian counterparts would be. None of us are better than our neighbors, and the same should apply in legal trials. The Libertarian Party of Michigan advocates for the abolishing of Qualified Immunity and similar protection laws for the legal and classist protections that they create. However, abolishing QI does nothing in the way of prevention of these awful situations. Another situation in which an officer wasn’t held accountable in the city due to laws like these was during 2020; when Officer Phillip Reinink shot Sean Hart in the face at close range with a tear gas canister.

Training for officers including de escalation techniques, meeting civilians ‘where they’re at’ rather than immediately demanding conformity from a peaceful person, or even removing themselves from the situation as they await a partner to arrive; are all methods that can and should be implemented so as to reduce the chances and number of these violent encounters occuring. By doing such, both the community and officers are safer and as a result officers would hopefully not feel the need arise nearly as often to use deadly force leading to the killing of someone.

In Liberty,

Libertarian Party of West Michigan (LPWM)

Open Letter To Grand Rapids City Manager

January 24, 2022

Mark Washington
Grand Rapids City Manager
300 Monroe Avenue NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Dear Mr. Washington,

Libertarians seek a society based on personal liberty and responsibility. The most desirable method of realizing such a society is to follow the natural order that arises when the inalienable rights of individuals to life, liberty and property ownership are respected and protected.

As you make your decision in the selection of the new police chief, we hope that the respect for the rights of the individual is of top priority to the selected candidate. We ask that you ensure the candidate opposes any form of discrimination by the police based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or any other group or individual identification. Each person has the same inalienable rights that the city has a duty to protect. Every citizen that violates the rights of another should be subject to criminal prosecution and held personally liable for any injuries caused by their actions regardless of their position in society, be they government official, police officer or common citizen.

For the city police to have a good relationship with the people they serve, we believe that government transparency is essential to public accountability. Complaints of police misconduct should be open to public scrutiny. The people must be able to expect that those under the supervision of the Police Chief will be held to a high standard.

Having the above as an important part of your decision process will go a long way toward ensuring lasting peace and liberty in our community.

Sincerely,

Steve Fox

Chair

Libertarian Party of West Michigan

Link to the May 2022 Michigan Libertarian