A Kent County, Michigan autopsy report echoed findings of an independent autopsy: Patrick Lyoya was shot in the back of the head by Grand Rapids police officer Officer Christopher Schurr after being pulled over.
The report from the medical examiner’s office also shows Lyoya’s blood-alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit for driving, according to two medical experts who explained the findings in the report.
“The penalty for driving while intoxicated is not a gunshot wound to the back of the head,” said Ven Johnson, one of the lawyers representing the Lyoya family. “It would be arrest, and go to jail and face the music in court, but not a gunshot wound to the back of the head.”
He said it has no impact on the cause or manner of death.
Lyoya’s death was ruled a homicide caused by a gunshot wound to the head, the report said.
Schurr shot Lyoya, a 26-year-old refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, during a traffic stop the morning of April 4. Lyoya was pronounced dead at 8:33 a.m.
No charges have been issued and the investigation continues.
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More:Grand Rapids police release name of officer who fatally shot Patrick Lyoya
Police said Lyoya had an improper license plate on the car. During the stop, Lyoya ran from the officer and the officer chased Lyoya. The two wrestled for the officer’s stun gun before Schurr shot Lyoya.
It’s unclear whether Schurr suspected Lyoya was intoxicated. Grand Rapids police referred questions from the Detroit Free Press, part of the USA TODAY Network, to Michigan State Police, which is investigating. A Michigan State Police spokeswoman said that would be part of the investigation and she cannot provide any details of the investigation.
Policing and civil rights experts previously told the Free Press that Schurr missed opportunities to peacefully resolve the encounter.
Kent County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Cohle performed the autopsy last month. He previously said his office requested toxicology and tissue test results be expedited.
The autopsy report shows Lyoya’s blood ethanol at 290 mg/dL. That is a blood alcohol concentration of .29, experts said.
In Michigan, a person with blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher is legally considered too intoxicated to drive. Blood-alcohol levels at or above .17 while driving can be considered “super drunk” and bring heightened penalties.
Dr. Ernest Chiodo, a physician, toxicologist and former medical director of the city of Detroit described the levels in the report as “highly, highly intoxicated.” Most people would be falling down drunk, he said.
Oakland County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Ljubisa Dragovic said it would probably take a minimum of 15 drinks to get to reach the level of .29.
Daniel Larin, a defense attorney who represents people accused of drunken driving, told the Free Press everybody would be significantly impaired by the time they reach a .29 blood alcohol concentration, even a regular drinker. The ability to drive, walk, talk and think would all be significantly impaired, he said.
“That’s a dangerous level,” he said.
Larin said a person that intoxicated may not understand instructions correctly and can act out of character.
The shooting, captured on video, has sparked protests and reignited calls for police reforms.
Schurr, whose name was publicly released last week, is on administrative leave.
The release of the autopsy report to the Free Press under the Freedom of Information Act came two weeks after the release of findings from an independent autopsy, which also found Lyoya was shot in the back of the head.
At the time, attorneys representing Lyoya’s family said that report offered more evidence that the shooting of Lyoya was unnecessary and a case of excessive force.