Family of 13-year-old killed by Columbus Police speak out on current protests

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As demonstrators demand change in the streets of Columbus, one family wants to remind the city this demand for change has happened before.

Tyre King, 13, was shot and killed in 2016 after a Columbus police officer said Tyre pulled out a weapon during a chase.

The weapon turned out to be a bb gun.

But the family believes Tyre was running away as he was shot and feels the shooting was not justified.

“The police department had left orders they wouldn’t even let us in the hospital,” Tyre’s grandmother Dearrea King said. “The next time I saw my grandson was at his viewing, that’s too much.”

Emotions are still high at times for Tyre’s family, saying when they look at the current demonstrations, it’s hard for them to not ask what about justice for Tyre.

It’s been nearly four years the family and they say they’ve yet to have closure or justice for his death.

They said every day has its challenges, and every day, they hear about police killing people, specifically black people, they think about why nothing is being done to change what’s going on.

“You learn how to deal with it a little bit better, I guess,” said Tyre’s mother Malika King.

“Yeah, it will never go away,” added Tyre’s father, Maurice Cardwell. “It’s always there but we cope with it.”

It was September 14, 2016, in the city’s Old Towne East neighborhood, and there was a report of an armed robbery. 

Columbus Police Officer Bryan Mason responded and claims he shot 13-year-old Tyre King because Tyre pulled a weapon, which turned out to be a BB gun.

The family’s attorney said an independent autopsy shows Tyre was shot on the left side, which indicated he was running away.

In May 2016, a grand jury voted not to indict Mason.

“We wanted an independent investigation, our own,” Cardwell said. “It’s like we gotta believe the police story and they’re out here doing what they’re doing.”

Malika King said the Columbus community’s call for justice during that time was welcomed.

“I appreciated it a lot,” she said. “It was like a voice for me.”

They took over a Columbus City Council meeting demanding justice and transparency.

Nearly four years later, the requests are the same, and many of the faces at the protests are, too, and many of the actions hold similar significance.

They blocked an intersection in Columbus for 13 minutes, one minute representing each year of Tyre’s life.

Just as protesters now remain silent for eight minutes to represent how long officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd’s neck.

This family say justice is needed now, not later.

“Change the laws, change the laws of the grand jury,” Dearrea King said.

What they are encouraged to see is the relentlessness of the protesters. They said they are the ones who can hold city leaders accountable for what’s going on and push for actual change.

Even though, in their hearts, they have doubts change will happen.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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