COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that a lawsuit against the white Ohio police officer who shot and killed a Black teenager can continue, but the city of Columbus will not be held liable.
The ruling Tuesday came months after attorneys for Columbus officer Bryan Mason sought dismissal of the suit, arguing that their client used reasonable force and that race wasn’t a factor in the 2016 shooting of 13-year-old Tyre King.
The lawsuit filed by Tyre's grandmother in 2018 challenges the police account, alleging that his death resulted from excessive force, racial discrimination and alleged failure by the police department to properly investigate and discipline officers for racially motivated or unconstitutional behavior.
The federal judge ruled Tuesday that there is no evidence that the city and the police department violated Tyre's civil rights, therefore they cannot be held legally liable.
Authorities said Mason shot Tyre in the head and torso in September 2016 while police were responding to a reported armed robbery.
The family’s lawsuit cited witnesses who said that Mason used a racial slur after firing and that the BB gun Tyre reportedly had wasn’t visible.
Mason, who has said he feared a “gunfight,” contends that he acted reasonably to protect himself and denies having directed a slur toward the teens. A grand jury decided not to bring charges against him.