From [HERE] Witnesses say that the white police officer who killed a black 13-year-old used a racial slur after firing and that a toy gun the eighth-grader had wasn't visible when the confrontation occurred, according to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed Friday on the second anniversary of the shooting.
The lawsuit filed by Tyre King's grandmother challenges the police account, characterizing his death as the result of excessive force, racial discrimination and an alleged failure by the police department to properly investigate and discipline officers for racially motivated or unconstitutional behavior.
Officer Bryan Mason, Police Chief Kim Jacobs [racist suspect in photo] and the city are named as defendants in the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.
By "tacitly authorizing" their behavior, "the policymakers and those responsible for hiring, training and supervision of police officers within the City of Columbus acted negligently, recklessly, intentionally, willfully, wantonly, knowingly and with deliberate indifference to the serious safety needs of the citizens of Columbus, including Tyre King," the lawsuit said.
The family reiterated had requested an independent investigation and called upon the Columbus police division and Franklin County prosecutor’s office, which has jurisdiction over the city, to be removed from the current probe of Tyre’s death.
“The Columbus police department, the City of Columbus and most importantly Tyre King and his family deserve the benefit of an investigation from a law enforcement agency that has no direct impact from the outcome of that investigation,” the statement said.
A Franklin County grand jury declined to indict Mason, who has since returned to duty in a different area of the city.
Police have said Tyre was in a group of young men who robbed a man of $10 at gunpoint, and Mason was responding.
Mason previously told investigators that Tyre tried to pull what appeared to be a real firearm from his waistband and said he fired at the teen when he saw a laser sight on the weapon and feared being shot. It turned out to be a BB gun that police later determined was inoperable.
Mason also said the teen didn't comply with the officer's commands to "get down."
Mason has said that Tyre spun to his right after the first shot. Mason told investigators:
“When I fired my gun at the second suspect, had had just drawn a gun from his waistband and I believed he was going to shoot me. I was in fear for my life at that time. I was giving repeated, loud commands and pointed my gun at him. As the suspect forcefully tugged on the grip of his handgun to pull it from his front waistband, I was still ordering him to get on the ground. When he did pull the gun out of his waistband, he raised it up in front of his torso with the barrel angled downward toward the west/northwest. In that instant, I could clearly see a laser sight or light attached to the bottom of the barrel of the gun, which appeared to be a black semi-automatic pistol. From the suspect’s actions and his failure to comply with my commands, I believed he intended to shoot me and I fired my gun at him.”
Another key witness in the case, Demetrius Braxton said that the officers called them a racial slur, saying they were “dumb niggers” for deciding to run. [MORE]
No body cameras were worn by officers during the incident because Columbus cops don’t use them.
Mason had been involved in three previous shootings and had been cleared of wrongdoing in each case, including another fatality.
Records show Tyre was shot three times, including in the head and torso. An attorney for his family has argued the results indicate he was running away and wasn't a threat when he was shot. A forensic pathologist who examined his body for his family reached the same conclusion.
“Based on the location and the direction of the wound paths it is more likely than not that Tyre King was in the process of running away from the shooter or shooters when he suffered all three gunshot wounds,” the examiner, Dr Francisco Diaz, said, according to a statement from the family.
Diaz found that Tyre, who the examiner noted was 5ft tall and weighed less than 100lbs, died from three gunshot wounds, “any of which could be determined to have been cause of death”, according to the family’s statement. The wounds were found on his temple, collarbone and the left flank, the statement said.
Diaz is an assistant professor of pathology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, according to his LinkedIn page, and since 2001 he has worked as a medical examiner in Wayne County, Michigan. [MORE] and [MORE]
After being shot by police, paramedics initially arrived to find 13-year old Tyre King in handcuffs with a pulse.