Tyre King (c. 2003-2016), known as Tyree King in early police and press reports, is an American schoolboy who was gunned down by police this past Wednesday, at 7.45pm on September 14th 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. He was armed with a BB gun (airgun). He was Black, the killer cop was White.
Police say King’s gun looked just like a police gun and that he pulled it on them. Based on what we know so far, it seems more likely the police are lying than that a 13-year-old boy pulled a BB gun on police.
The family’s lawyers say “numerous” witness accounts conflict with the police account. Demetrius Braxton, King’s friend who was there, said King was running away when police shot him.
There is no video, at least not yet. Columbus police are allowed to carry guns without a body camera.
Note that police are fully capable of taking grown White men alive who shoot at them, like William Bruce Ray, age 62, and Robert Dear, age 57. But not, apparently, Black boys with BB guns, like Tamir Rice, age 12, and now Tyre King, age 13.
King was gunned down so quickly that the woman who called police was still on the line:
“Oh! He’s shooting them! Oh my God! They’re shooting! Oh my God!”
One witness heard three to five shots.
King, who has no criminal record, is suspected of armed robbery: witnesses say he robbed a White man of $10 at gunpoint. The White man thought King’s gun was a Ruger semi-automatic pistol. But even if a court of law had found all that to be true, King would not have received the death penalty.
Ron O’Brien, the county prosecutor, on that very night had refused to speak at an event about public safety and prosecutor accountability, hosted by Columbus People’s Partnership and the People’s Justice Project. After Tamir Rice was killed in 2014, and again last June when Henry Green was killed by Columbus police, the People’s Justice Project went to talk to O’Brien. Both times nothing happened.
O’Brien is the very man who will present the King case before a secret grand jury. But since the police are investigating themselves, he will be presenting what will most likely amount to a police cover-up.
Activists in Columbus want an independent investigation of police shootings.
Mayor Andrew Ginther says Columbus is “the safest big city in America”. So far this year there have been 13 police shootings, killing five people. One police officer has also been killed. The police killing of Henry Green last June led to protests.
Officer Bryan Mason, who killed King, has himself taken part in shootings in 2010, 2012, 2013, and now 2016. He has been on the force for nine years. King is the second person he has killed. He was cleared of any wrondoing in the past shootings. The police chief says Mason is good at following police policy. The head of the police union says he is a “really, really good officer.” He is on leave “to assist in recovery from a traumatic experience.”
– Abagond, 2016.
Update (September 21st): The official autopsy will not come out for another six weeks. In the meantime the family had an autopsy done. It shows that King was hit by three bullet and that most likely he was trying to run away. That backs up what his friend says and makes the police account seem even more unlikely. More at the Guardian.
- Police lies later refuted by video:
- Black BB gunmen in Ohio gunned down by police:
- White gunmen taken alive by police:
- Unarmed Black people killed by police: 2016, 2015, before 2015
- grand jury
- the police