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Students hold vigil for Tyre King; University Police to get body cameras by year’s end

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Anthony Edgecombe (center) passionately speaks about the death of Tyre King while at the vigil. Credit: Dan Smyth | Lantern Reporter

Activist Anthony Edgecombe (center) speaks about the death of Tyre King at a vigil hosted by the Ohio State Coalition for Black Liberation on Sept. 15. Credit: Dan Smyth | Lantern Reporter

The Ohio State Coalition for Black Liberation held a vigil for Tyre King, a 13-year-old who was shot and killed by a Columbus Division of Police officer Wednesday night.

The vigil took place between 5 and 6 p.m. on the South Oval, where upset students as well Columbus residents voiced their opinions on the shooting. There was also a moment of silence dedicated to King.

“It’s one of the saddest deaths in a long time,” said Maryam Abidi, a fourth-year in strategic communication who attended the vigil. “And the story the police gave is the story the police always give.”

The incident began when Columbus Police were called to investigate an armed robbery in the Olde Towne East neighborhood, and encountered King and two other males.

King was shot after he pulled a BB gun — which officers mistook as a real gun — from his waistband, according to a statement by the police.

Demetrius Braxton, 19, who was with King when the police encountered them, told The Columbus Dispatch the BB gun looked like a real gun.

Despite Braxton’s comments, there was still a sense of distrust among some Columbus residents about the shooting, which has been compared to the shooting of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old in Cleveland who was killed by a police officer while possessing a BB gun in 2014.

“First off, what we know is the boy had a toy gun, if he had a gun at all,” said Anthony Edgecombe, a resident of Columbus.

Like Rice, King was black. The officer in the Rice case was not charged with any wrongdoing, which Cleveland-area congressional Rep. Marcia Fudge called “a miscarriage of justice.”

Some students in attendance expressed dismay at the number of people killed by the Columbus Division of Police this year, although in one instance that figure was wrongly placed at 13. Thirteen people have been shot by police in Columbus; five have died.

Others attending the vigil were upset there was no video evidence of the shooting.

“This time we haven’t found video evidence yet,” Abidi said.

Congressional Rep. Joyce Beatty, who represents much of the campus and off-campus area, as well as the neighborhood where King was killed, issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:

“Tyree King’s death is a tragedy and today we mourn the loss of this 13 year-old child. I join others in urging the community to unite and to respect the privacy of the King family during this difficult time. As this incident is fully investigated, we must stand together—elected officials, parents, activists, police, community and faith leaders, and all of us—to save lives.”

Bryan Mason, a Columbus police officer of nine years, was identified as the officer who shot King by Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs. Mason has been placed on administrative leave while there is an investigation of the incident.

Columbus Division of Police officers began testing body cameras in August during a 10-day trial period, but the program is not yet permanent or department-wide.

University Police Chief Craig Stone said OSU has pilot tested body cameras over the past few years, and has plans to implement them soon.

“By the end of the year, we plan on purchasing body cameras for all of our officers, and they will be wearing them when they are on duty,” Stone told The Lantern in an interview Thursday afternoon about the upcoming Community Police Academy that University Police is hosting.

The vigil ended with the crowd singing  “We’re on the Freedom Side.”

13 comments

  1. a vigil for a 13 y/o THIEVING maggot?

    • Tired of this...........

      Who pulled a gun on a cop (that looked like a real weapon)? What was the cop supposed to do? Let the kid shoot him (again, he didn’t know it was a bb-gun). Do me a favor. Don’t pull a gun on a cop (no matter HOW OLD you are) and you won’t get shot!

  2. Yeah, body cameras will solve the problem. Once those officers put those on I’m sure the father of all these fine young citizens will return home, these boys will stop carrying BB guns around like wanna be thugs, others on welfare will rush to the EMployment office, students getting mugged off N. High St will come to a screeching halt and BLM will begin marching on black on black crime. Let’s keep blaming everyone else, it’s easier then facing the embarrassing truth. You can be assured this officer didn’t leave his house that day thinking I’m going to kill an African American today. You can also be assured Tyree King left his house saying I’m gonna be a thug with a fake gun. Of course there are bad shootings by the police. So few and far between that the handling of the good shootings by the press does exactly what they want. Incite the community and make policing impossible. God bless all police officers for what they do, law abiding citizens, families of structure, and the USA.

  3. There are no witnesses to this shooting. The police, with stories that will change as new evidence appears, can not be considered credible witnesses. The police use a series of excuses that may as well be check boxes on their report paperwork: “he reached for his waistband”, “he went for my gun”, “he charged at me”, and “I feared for my life”. We don’t give the shooter in any murder case the benefit of the doubt and the police have proven to be even less trustworthy in these situations. I’m not saying what did or did not happen with this shooting, I’m saying that, without any credible witnesses, we do not know yet. No belief without proof.

    Body cams will eventually help, but we have to go through the “the body cam just happened to be off at the time of the shooting” phase that always follows their initial implementation. Then we pass a law saying the body cam must be on at all times and we enter the “the body cam malfunctioned or became dislodged” phase. Then we buy better body cams and, at that point, these police shootings magically subside.

    • I notice that you conveniently left out the fact about the gun with laser sights because that would really nullify all your assumptions.

    • hey DA…the little maggots own accomplices “ratted” out the criminal maggot-in-training. Remember, the cops were there because their last victim called 911 about this “posse”, describing them and the weapon shown… Got any more idiocy to spew?

    • COMPLY, DON’T DIE. (PERIOD)

  4. His parents should be brought up on negligent homicide charges. Even a 13 year old needs parental supervision when handling a BB gun,

    • This is NOT a police issue or a racial issue… This is a parenting issue… simple as that… And when the culture this kid came from realizes that and becomes accountable for their own lack of accountability to their children and their lives… incidents like this will happen far less… I thank the good Lord everyday I had parents who cared, made me accountable and kicked my ass when I needed it… IT ALL STARTS AT HOME FOLKS… no matter your color, creed, race or national origin.

  5. This is NOT a police issue or a racial issue… This is a parenting issue… simple as that… And when the culture this kid came from realizes that and becomes accountable for their own lack of accountability to their children and their lives… incidents like this will happen far less… I thank the good Lord everyday I had parents who cared, made me accountable and kicked my ass when I needed it… IT ALL STARTS AT HOME FOLKS… no matter your color, creed, race or national origin.

  6. All lives matter. Blue lives matter. Black lives matter. White lives matter. Asian lives matter.

  7. Good riddance Tyre. Who knows how many victims you would have had.

  8. No vigil for their classmate who died in Mirror Lake last year, but perfectly happy to hold a vigil for a duck and then a criminal.

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