Family: lawsuit over police killing of teen must continue
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The white Ohio police officer who shot and killed 13-year-old Tyre King does not have legal immunity from claims in a civil rights lawsuit brought by the Black teenager’s grandmother because the shooting wasn’t justified, lawyers for the family argued in a federal court filing.
Columbus Officer Bryan Mason shot Tyre in 2016 while responding to a reported armed robbery. Tyre’s family argues his death was the result of excessive force, racial discrimination and alleged failure by the police department to properly investigate and discipline officers for racially motivated or unconstitutional behavior.
The family’s lawsuit challenged the police account of what happened, citing witnesses who said that Mason used a racial slur after firing and that the BB gun Tyre reportedly had wasn’t visible.
Mason has said he feared a “gun fight” and contends he acted reasonably to protect himself and denies directing a slur toward the teens. He wasn’t charged. His lawyers have asked federal Judge Edmund Sargus Jr. to dismiss the case.
Mason is not immune from civil liability because “he violated Tyre’s constitutional right to be free from unjustified deadly force,” attorneys for Tyre’s grandmother said in their Wednesday filing.