A white police officer was charged with second-degree murder on Thursday for fatally shooting a Black man after an encounter following a traffic check in Grand Rapids, Michigan, two months ago.

A forensic pathologist who did an independent autopsy on Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo,  determined that the officer held his gun to the back of Lyoya's head and fired once.

The incident sparked protests for racial justice in the city.

The criminal complaint against officer Christopher Schurr in the April 4 shooting of Lyoya was filed around seven weeks after an independent autopsy found Lyoya was shot in the back of the head at point-blank range.

Christopher Becker, the lead prosecutor for Kent County, announced the charge at a news conference and stated that Schurr had turned himself in and will be arraigned in Grand Rapids on Friday.

The murder angered Lyoya's family and sparked protests by activists who decried the shooting as an instance of unlawful use of lethal force by police against young Black men.

Becker stated that in Michigan, the maximum sentence for second-degree murder, which is defined as an intentional, unjustified killing, is life in prison with the chance of parole.

He told reporters that additional elements required to prove a case of first-degree murder, including premeditation and intent, were "just not present."

According to Becker, manslaughter is virtually the same as second-degree murder but is reduced by actions performed in "the heat of passion."

Becker thought that his choice to pursue Schurr would send the message "that we take this case seriously."

The prosecutor stated that he made his judgment after analyzing a state police report on the incident and evidence that included video footage collected from the dashboard camera of Schurr's squad car, his body-worn camera, and a neighbor's surveillance camera.

The recordings, which were made public in April, depict Lyoya stepping out of the automobile on a rainy street and asking "What did I do?" while a police officer repeatedly requests a driver's license and orders him back into the vehicle.

Lyoya appears to comply, but then closes the driver-side door and resists the officer's attempts to handcuff him by attempting to flee.

Following a brief foot pursuit, the two men appear to tussle over the officer's stun gun on the grass before Lyoya is shot.