A US grand jury has voted not to indict a white police officer who fatally shot an African American boy last year.
The Franklin County grand jury ruled Friday that officer Bryan Mason, who shot dead Tyre King, 13, on September 14, was not guilty.
Mason shot the teen after he pulled a BB gun that looked like a real firearm during a foot pursuit over a reported robbery by the boy.
According to a county coroner, Tyre died of gunshot wounds to the head and torso and that the manner of death was considered homicide.
Family attorney Sean Walton said since Tyre was shot three times on the left side, the results show he was running away at the time and that he was not posing a threat to police.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien released a statement Friday, saying that Mason was justified in killing Tyre.
“Officer Mason stated that King was removing the BB pistol, that appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun, from his waistband when Officer Mason shot him three times,” the statement said.
“The BB gun was recovered on the ground at the scene several feet from where King laid.” O’Brien said.
The Columbus City Council issued a statement Friday that said, “Today’s grand jury decision is a sad and unfortunate reminder that a child has died in our community.”
Walton said that “Tyre’s family is saddened and completely dissatisfied with how the entire investigation was handled by the City of Columbus, the Columbus Division of Police and the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office.”
Similar rulings were issued by grand juries in the deaths of Eric Garner on Staten Island, Tamir Rice in Cleveland and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, all of them controversial cases that prompted a national debate about race relations and the use of force by law enforcement.