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Civil Rights

Still No Justice, Still No Peace

— September 19, 2016

When will it end? In yet another disturbing case of police violence against blacks, 13-year-old Tyre King was shot multiple times by a Columbus police officer resulting in the young child’s death. I don’t care what the circumstances were that led up to the shooting, because they do not matter. What does matter is the constant stream of excuses this country continues to make for the senseless oppression, violence, profiling and murder of people of color. King was reportedly wanted for questioning in a robbery where he allegedly stole $10. Columbus police say he brandished a weapon that looked similar to a type of gun they carry (later identified as a BB gun) while committing the act. Don’t get me wrong; I am in no way excusing King’s suspected behavior. If what police have accused him of is true, they had every right to hold him accountable. However, he had to die instead of being given the chance to explain the why and that’s inexcusable, no matter how you look at it.

Columbus police released information regarding the incident claiming that King had “pulled a gun from his waistband” when officers were attempting to arrest him, leaving the officer in question no choice but to shoot him. Multiple times. However, upon the arrest of 19-year-old Demetrius Braxton, who was with King at the time of the shooting, the facts of the case don’t seem to line up. Braxton admitted King was “looking to do a robbery,” which he did, but that both men were caught by police and told to get down on the ground. According to Braxton, both he and King complied until King got up and made an attempt to run. He said it was at that time King was shot and killed. When Braxton was first interviewed by police, he was let go without being charged; it was not until Saturday, September 17, he was officially arrested. Police say they are looking for more suspects they believe to have been involved.

Columbus Chief of Police Kim Jacobs; image courtesy of
Columbus Chief of Police Kim Jacobs; image courtesy of

Audio of the 911 call, believed to have been made by the victim of the street robbery, reveals he was not hurt but described the weapon King used as resembling a Ruger hand-gun. Columbus police stated when they arrived, they witnessed a group of young men matching the description given by the caller whom they attempted to speak to regarding the incident. That’s where the details get fuzzy. The officers claim two men ran away, which matches what Braxton recounted, but rather than telling them to get on the ground, a statement released by Columbus P.D. read, “Officers followed the males to the alley … and attempted to take them into custody when one suspect pulled a gun from his waistband. One officer shot and struck the suspect multiple times.” Even if this recollection of events is true, multiple shots were not warranted because the child did not return fire. King was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead roughly twenty minutes later. In 2016 alone, it is estimated at least 136 black people have been killed by police, with 123 having been shot to death; these statistics only go up to July.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of reading so many similar stories day after day about the exploitation of blacks in this country. People can claim all they want it has “nothing to do with race” but they’re wrong and deep down, I believe they know it; it’s just too “icky” to admit they themselves are part of the problem rather than the solution. Ignoring this systemic epidemic won’t make it go away. It never has and it never will. I ask anyone to prove the notion that the brutal murder of a barely-teenaged boy by police ever was, or ever will be, justified. But I’ll tell you right now, you’re hopelessly mistaken if you try.


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