Grandmother sues after jury decides not to indict police in Columbus shooting of 13-year-old Tyre King

Tyre King
Tyre King (Photo: Tyre King’s family/

The grandmother of Tyre King wants the Columbus, Ohio police department to pay for what they did to her grandson, according to the Associated Press.

According to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed Friday, September 14, on the second anniversary of her grandson’s murder, additional witnesses have come forward to confirm that the white police officer who killed the Black 13-year-old used a racial slur after firing. It is also being alleged that the toy gun found on the boy wasn’t visible when the confrontation occurred.

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The suit is challenging the official police account of the incident, characterizing the eighth-grader’s 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.

By “tacitly authorizing” the officers 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,”  said the lawsuit, which names Officer Bryan Mason and Police Chief Kim Jacobs as defendants.

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Police previously said Tyre King was in a group of young men who robbed a man of $10 at gunpoint, when officer Mason responded. Mason would later tell investigators that Tyre King had tried to pull what appeared to be a real firearm from his waistband and he responded by firing at the teen.

The only thing the eighth grader had on him was a BB gun that police later determined was inoperable. A grand jury voted not to indict the officer in the shooting, which incited protests in Columbus and sparked further national debates about police killings of Black males.

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Medical records show Tyre was shot three times, including in the head and torso. An attorney representing his family argued the results indicate he was running away and wasn’t a threat when he was shot as Officer Mason has said. A forensic pathologist who examined his body also reached the same conclusion.

The young man’s family is seeking unspecified damages and while a Columbus police spokeswoman said it would be improper to comment on the litigation, the head of the local police union has previously said they believed Mason acted according to policy.

The King family, however, want a independent investigation by an outside law enforcement agency and are requesting that the Columbus Police Department and the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office remove themselves from any involvement in the investigation.