COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A Columbus police officer has been acquitted in a federal case in the shooting death of a 13-year-old boy in 2016.
In a verdict delivered Wednesday, a jury ruled that Columbus police officer Bryan Mason did not violate Tyre King’s constitutional right to be free from unjustified deadly force.
Mason, who is white, shot and killed King, who was Black, on Sept. 14, 2016, after King and another teenager were involved in an armed robbery. During a foot chase, King pulled out a gun, which was later determined to be a BB gun, from his waistband. Mason shot King three times.
King’s grandmother, Dearrea King, filed the lawsuit on behalf of King’s estate in September 2018.
The lawsuit claimed Mason used excessive force when he shot King as he was running away. It also claimed a witness said he never saw King holding a gun, and that Mason used a racial slur after the shooting.
In a statement to detectives, Mason said he feared a “gun fight” with King and that Mason fired when he saw a laser sight on the BB gun. Mason also claimed that King refused Mason’s commands to “get down” and pulled at the BB gun in his waistband a few times as if it was stuck on something. Mason also denied using a racial slur.
A grand jury declined to indict Mason on criminal charges in May 2017.
According to Wednesday’s ruling, Mason was found not to have “violated Tyre King’s constitutional right to be free from excessive force,” and Mason did not act “recklessly and battered Tyre King.”
The other teen involved in the armed robbery, Demetrius Emanuel Lee Braxton, pleaded guilty in November 2016 to robbery charges related to the shooting.