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By Tim Black

Here we go again. That’s what I was thinking as I read the story of 13-year old Tyre King. Tyre King was a 13-year-old kid living in East Columbus, OH. Tyre lost his life after what appeared to be “fake robbery” attempt using a BB gun. Sad indeed.

According to Chief Kim Jacobs, the gun used “It turns out to not be a firearm in the sense that it fires real bullet, but as you can see it looks like a firearm that could kill you,”  Based on that information and a picture of the type of BB gun Tyre allegedly possessed, I’m sure it appeared to be real enough to thoroughly scare the victim of that robbery.

Based on reportsofficers were investigating an attempted robbery where the victim described “a group of people approached him and demanded money. One of them, he told officers, had a gun.”

Officers saw a group of people matching the victim’s description. When the officers approached the group two men fled into an alley. During the pursuit, officers said one of the suspects pulled what looked like a gun from his waistband. An officer fired several shots into the suspect who we now know is Tyree King. Tyre died late at the hospital.

tyrekingI can’t help, but recall 12-year-old Tamir Rice gunned down in less than three seconds just two years ago in the very same state of Ohio.Tamir  was young, black and in  possession of a non deadly weapon, but the similarities end there.

  • Tyre King was allegedly committing a crime: robbery.
  • Tamir was playing at an almost empty park.
  • Tyre King fled from police.
  • Tamir barely had time to blink let alone run.

I’m not here to defend the indefensible. Tyre’s actions are heart-wrenching  and criminal. Robbery is a serious issue; I know I’ve been robbed at gun point before. Trust me, it’s no fun. I can tell you nothing makes you get in touch with your own sense of mortality more than staring down the barrel of a gun.

My beef is with the Columbus Ohio Police Chief and their lack of body cameras. I’m tired of the Country being torn apart by assumptions. In America today any Police Department that doesn’t outfit all its officers with body cameras is choosing to risk creating only more division between citizens and police.

I’m sure many others would argue this is an open and shut case: Thug robs citizen. Thug flees. Cops Chase. Thug pulls gun. Cops shoot Thug. The End. Sorry. I can’t fall in line with you. My video on the Tyre King shooting is  here.

Maybe it’s just me. Perhaps I’ve been reporting on stories of death by cop too often, but I need proof. I need proof this young man pulled out his BB gun to engage officers knowing it shoots BB’s not bullets. I’ve heard of bringing a knife to a gunfight, but a BB gun to a shoot-out? I can’t easily believe even at 13 Tyre was that delusional. I also need proof the officers were in fear of their lives. Let me remind you Ohio is an Open Carry State and any citizen with a gun should be given the opportunity to lay that gun down before being fired upon. Tyre deserved the same merciful courtesy extended to some old white guy in the middle of the street angry about his social security payments.

Many online critics, of which there are many when such instances arise, say Tyre’s parents are to blame. I hesitate to blame Tyre’s parents, at least not yet. I can’t in good conscience flippantly assume Tyre’s parents knew their son was out with friends sticking up people with a BB gun. That’s just me. I’m also stumped at just what type of economic situation does a 13 year old live with where he’s out robbing and stealing instead of playing Pokémon, or better yet, doing his homework? Questions. More questions and sadly, not nearly enough answers. Then again, we had footage of the death of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Philando Castille and Alton Sterling still not so much as an indictment let alone a conviction, so what do I know?


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