Police Officer Who Fatally Shot Eighth-Grader – ‘I Was in Fear for My Life’

An eighth-grader was armed with a non-working BB gun outfitted with a laser sight when he was shot and killed by a Columbus police officer nearly one year ago, according to the police investigative file obtained Thursday.

Tyre King, 13, who was a student at Linden-McKinley STEM, pulled the BB gun after Officer Bryan Mason, 32, ordered him to get on the ground.

“I believe he was going to shoot me and I fired my gun at him,” Mason told investigators, according to the file obtained by The Dispatch.

Details explained across the more than 500 pages in the investigative file support the initial statements by police and witnesses that the gun appeared real.

King’s death is one of several high-profile shootings involving white officers and black males that has drawn national attention and local protests.

In May, a Franklin County grand jury declined to indict Mason. He continues to work at the division as an investigator. He has been a Columbus officer for nearly 11 years.

Mason was one of several officers responding to an armed robbery call just before 8 p.m. on Sept. 14, 2016.

According to the investigative more than 500 pages of records from the investigative file obtained Thursday, the following occurred:

King and three others robbed a man of $10 as he was walking to his car near 18th Street and East Broad Street from Yellow Brick Pizza in Olde Towne East.

The victim, Michael Ames, called 911 and gave a description. Ames told police he had no doubt the gun used in the robbery was real.

Officers saw suspects, including King and 19-year-old Demetrius Braxton, who matched the description and chased the group when they fled. King and Braxton ran behind a residence on Hoffman Avenue near East Capital Street.

Mason told investigators that as he approached an alley off Hoffman Avenue, he saw two males running “at full sprint directly toward me.”

Mason said he raised his gun and began shouting “Get down!” or “Get on the ground!”

Braxton quickly hit the ground. King veered off toward a parked car.

“I could immediately see what I believed was the grip of a handgun that was tucked into his front waistband,” Mason said. He said he again ordered the suspect on the ground.

King stopped near the driver’s side of the car and he “looked directly at me before he grabbed the grip of the handgun in his waistband and tugged on it,” Mason said.

Mason stepped to the passenger side for cover with his gun pointed at King about 8 to 12 feet away.

King tugged a couple more times at the gun as if it was snagged on something.

“His refusal to comply with my commands and his continuing attempts to pull the gun out caused me to believe that he was going to engage me in a gunfight,” Mason said.

King managed to pull the gun out and raised it in front of his torso pointed at the ground, Mason told investigators. The gun had a laser sight or light attached to the bottom of the barrel, he said. The officer opened fire.

“I was in fear for my life at the time,” Mason said.

There were three spent .40 caliber shell casings collected at the Hoffman Avenue scene where Mason shot King. All three rounds hit King — in the head, chest and abdomen.

The handgun King brandished turned out to be a BB gun that didn’t work because a propellant cartridge was missing. The magazine did not contain a spring, which would have loaded a pellet into the chamber.

Before the robbery, King told one person the gun was not real. He cocked it and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened. He then put it back in his pants.

Sean Walton, an attorney with Walton + Brown, representing King’s family, described the police investigation as “minimal and incomplete.”

“In the aftermath of Tyre’s death, Mayor Ginther promised a ‘full inquiry’ into what happened. It is clear that the Columbus Division of Police has either an inability to hold Officer Mason accountable for his use of force against citizens or no interest in doing so,” Walton said in a statement. “We find it hard to fathom that Mason’s training and experience led him to believe that a 13-year-old, 5′0″, 100-lb. child posed such a threat that his only option was shoot him in the head.”

Walton has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court on behalf of King’s family.

Police have yet to rule whether Mason’s shooting was within policy. All officer-involved shootings are examined by an internal firearms review board.

King’s death marked the third fatal shooting Mason has been involved in, records show. He has had more than two dozen use of force complaints. In each case, he has been cleared.

Source: http://www.dispatch.com

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 4763 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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