Thirteen-year-old black youth killed by Columbus police

Police cruiser (Photo credit: Scott Davidson via Flickr / Creative Commons)

In Columbus, Ohio demonstrators took to the streets Thursday after police shot and killed a 13-year-old African American boy allegedly armed with a BB-gun. FSRN’s Evan Davis has more.

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About 150 people held a vigil and called for justice after an African American youth was killed by police Wednesday night.

13-year-old Tyre King was stopped by two white officers after a reported robbery on the city’s near
East side. The officers claimed Tyre matched the description of one of the robbery suspects.

According to the police, Tyre initially cooperated but then tried to run, and when the officers cornered him in an alley, he allegedly took a pistol from his waistband. One of the officers fired several shots, fatally wounding the boy.

At a press conference Thursday, Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs displayed an image of the
gun Tyre allegedly held – a BB-gun with an attached laser guide, designed to look like an actual hand gun.

“It turns out to not be a firearm in the sense that it fires real bullets,” Chief Jacobs said. “But as you can see, it looks like a firearm that could kill you.”

Speaking for the King family, attorney Sean Walton called the police chief’s presentation prejudicial, noting that an impartial investigation has yet to be completed, and that all of the reported details should be regarded as allegations, not as facts.

Last week, a study of police practices in 19 cities by national nonprofit organization called Live Free gave Columbus a “D” rating for its frequency of police use of force, and for the level of police accountability to the community.

Since 1980, the Franklin County prosecutor has maintained a policy of referring all cases of fatal police shootings to a grand jury – and not a single indictment has been returned.

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