Target: Mayor of Columbus Ohio Andrew Ginther
Goal: Open an independent investigation into the fatal shooting of a child carrying a BB gun.
A 13 year-old boy has been shot and killed by police in Columbus, Ohio. Officers say they were responding to reports of an armed robbery over $10. The officers identified and pursued a group of people, including Tyre King, who “matched the description of the suspects.” While most of this group laid on the ground when ordered, King ran into a nearby alley.
What happened next is unclear. Officers allege that King pulled out a BB gun from his waistband that they mistook for a firearm. It is quite possible that he was trying to discard the toy gun. Officer Brian Mason, who has been with the Columbus Division of Police for nine years but was recently transferred to the neighborhood, then shot Tyre King multiple times. Other witness accounts do not mention a BB gun and state that the boy was shot within 10 seconds of entering the alleyway.
Tyre King is the 761st person to be killed by police this year, and the second youngest. When children are scared, they often run or otherwise act in ways adult would not. It is unclear whether Officer Mason was equipped with a body camera. The Columbus Division of Police has suspended the officer and are investigated the killing.
This is a clear conflict of interest–the CDP has a stake in a particular outcome. In order for there to be some level of justice, there needs to be an independent and transparent investigation. Sign our petition to demand such an investigation.
Dear Mayor Ginther,
I was saddened to hear of the killing of 13-year-old Tyre King and, while an investigation into the killing is needed, I believe that investigation cannot be under the authority of the Columbus Division of Police. Not only does the CDP as an institution have a clear conflict of interest, but their findings are unlikely to help the relationship between the community and the police. I urge you to create an independent investigation or invite a federal agency to investigate.
Secondly, I believe that the death of Tyre King highlights issues with the way that officers handle children and people with weapons. As you may well know, children do not react to stressful or frightening situations the way that adults do. Furthermore, given the reported length of time between King entering the alleyway and the shots that killed him, it is unclear whether any attempt was made to disarm the child or de-escalate. While I recognize that serving in law enforcement is dangerous, their priority should be the preservation of life, and they should act accordingly.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Tony Webster