The family of the Black Ohio teen who was fatally shot by a police officer after allegedly pulling a BB gun on him during a confrontation has released a statement in light of recent developments in the case.
Columbus police officer Bryan Mason claims he opened fire on 13-year-old Tyre King after the teen supposedly discharged what they initially perceived to be a real gun, as they were attempting to question and apprehend him in connection with a recent robbery in early September. Despite police claims, a medical examiner concluded that King was "more likely than not" running away at the time he was shot, given the positioning of his fatal wounds. 19-year-old Demetrius Braxton, who was the other teen present for King's encounter with officer Mason, also maintains that King was running away from the officers when they shot him.
King was an eighth grader and weighed less than 100 pounds at the time of the shooting.
The teen's senseless death was ruled a homicide on November 10, while Braxton was sentenced to three years in prison on November 22 for his involvement with the robbery. Braxton received reduced sentencing as part of a plea deal in which he agreed to testify against others involved with the robbery, according to a statement released by the King family. While they do not hold Braxton responsible for King's death, the family does question why Braxton's plea deal didn't also include an agreement for him to testify against officer Mason.
"The family of Tyre King also does not place blame on Demetrius Braxton for Tyre’s death," the statement reads. "The person that pulled the trigger and shot Tyre is officer Bryan Mason. The family questions why Braxton's plea deal did not require his cooperation in testifying against the officer as well. The public should remain focused on making sure that a full, independent investigation, is conducted into the death of Tyre, and calling for O’Brien to hold officers accountable for the unjustifiable use of lethal force."
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In light of the medical examiner's findings and Braxton's consistent claims that King was running away from the officers when he was gunned down, the family continues to call for an full, independent investigation into the shooting by the Franklin County Prosecutor's office.
"The family stands with the community in asking for the City of Columbus and Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office to take proactive steps to ensure that Officer Mason’s actions and alleged racial slurs are fully investigated and that the Columbus Police Department is not involved in that investigation," the statement concludes.