Rights advocates are demanding the name of the police officer who shot 26-year-old Lyoya in the back of the head after a traffic stop in Michigan.
Reverend Al Sharpton has demanded that US authorities publicly identify the Michigan police officer who killed Patricio Lyoyaa native of the Democratic Republic of Congo who was fatally shot in the back of the head this month.
“We want your name!” Sharpton said Friday as he spoke at Lyoya’s funeral.
He said authorities cannot set a precedent of withholding the names of officers who kill people unless the officer is charged.
“Every time a young black man or woman is arrested in this city, you put their name all over the news. Every time we’re suspected of something, you put our name on it,” Sharpton said. “How dare you have the name of a man who killed this man? We want his name!
Mourners, many of whom wore T-shirts or sweatshirts bearing Lyoya’s photo and the words “Justice for Patrick,” applauded.
Sharpton delivered the eulogy at the request of family members. Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the family, will also speak at the Renaissance Church of God in Christ in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
A program from the service, printed in English and Swahili, said family and friends planned to share insights.
Lyoya’s body lay in an open white coffin inside the church before the service began. Once the funeral began, she closed the coffin and covered it with the Congolese flag.
Beneath the casket, a sign with an image of the American flag and a photo of Lyoya read, “It is our right to live,” in both English and Swahili.
Lyoya’s mother, Dorcas, sobbed as mourners paid their respects, tears streaming down her cheeks as live music played and a choir sang.
US Rep. Brenda Lawrence, the only black member of Congress from Michigan, was among those who packed the 1,000-seat church.
Local elected officials, Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and State Senator Winnie Brinks were also among those in attendance.
Entering, Crump said, “We are here to support the family again at this very difficult time. No one expects their child to be taken from them before they bury it.
“But being taken away by the person who is supposed to protect and serve them is a different kind of trauma.”
Lyoya was face down on the ground when fatally shot on April 4 in Grand Rapids, about 150 miles (240 km) northwest of Detroit.
The officer, whose name has not been released, was on top of him and can be heard on video demanding that Lyoya remove his hand from his Taser.
Earlier, the officer is heard saying that license plate did not match the car Lyoya had been driving. Lyoya, a 26-year-old father of two, refused to return to the vehicle as ordered, and a brief foot chase ensued before the deadly fight.