COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus attorney Byron L. Potts says the family of 16-year-old Julius Tate Jr. is considering a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Columbus.
Tate was shot and killed by Columbus police last Friday during an undercover sting operation related to a series of armed robberies. Police say Tate pulled a gun on an undercover police officer during a sting operation into a rash of armed robberies.
Potts says they have a sworn affidavit from an eyewitness who provides an account of the shooting which is vastly different than the police version of events.
Police say they had received numerous reports of robberies in the area. SWAT officers set up a meeting on social media to buy something from Tate.
“The suspect approached the officer, produced a weapon, robbed the officer,” said Columbus police spokesperson Sgt. Chantay Boxill. “At that time the cover officer fired at the suspect.”
Potts says the eyewitness claims that police brought an unarmed Julius Tate out of a house near the intersection of Mt Vernon Ave and Champion Ave, shot him, and then went back into the house to retrieve a gun. He says the female eyewitness is someone who was known to Tate but he declined specifics.
A police spokesperson said that scenario is not accurate.
Jamita Malone, Tate’s mother, said she just wants justice for her son. She expressed frustration that the coroner’s office has not yet released the body and she has not yet been able to see her son.
“I don’t know what time he passed,” Malone said. “I do know that as his mother, he needed me.
Police say they believe Tate was involved in an earlier armed robbery and assault of a woman who thought she was meeting to pay cash for a TV.
Potts said he will continue to collect statements and evidence before making a final decision with the family on whether to file a lawsuit.