Tyre King, 13, was shot dead by a white officer in Columbus, Ohio on September 14, 2016. (File photo)
A US grand jury has voted not to indict a white police officer who fatally shot an African American boy last year.
The Franklin County grand jury ruled Friday that officer Bryan Mason, who shot dead Tyre King, 13, on September 14, was not guilty.
Mason shot the teen after King pulled a BB gun that looked like a real firearm during a foot pursuit over a reported robbery by the boy.
According to a county coroner, Tyre died of gunshot wounds to the head and torso and that the manner of death was considered homicide.
Family attorney Sean Walton said Tyre was not posing a threat to police as the conclusion of the investigation shows he was running away from the office, given the results which indicate he was shot on the left side.
The Columbus City Council issued a statement Friday that said, “Today’s grand jury decision is a sad and unfortunate reminder that a child has died in our community.”
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien released a statement Friday, saying that Mason was justified in killing Tyre.
“Officer Mason stated that King was removing the BB pistol, that appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun, from his waistband when Officer Mason shot him three times,” the statement said.
“The BB gun was recovered on the ground at the scene several feet from where King laid.” O’Brien said.
Family attorney Sean Walton also issued a statement Friday, saying that “Tyre’s family is saddened and completely dissatisfied with how the entire investigation was handled by the City of Columbus, the Columbus Division of Police and the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office.”
Similar rulings were issued by grand juries in the deaths of Eric Garner on Staten Island, Tamir Rice in Cleveland and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, all of them controversial cases that prompted a national debate about race relations and the use of force by law enforcement.
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