Jury rejects lawsuit filed by family of teen killed by cop

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A federal jury has found that a white Ohio police officer did not violate a Black teenager's civil rights when he shot and killed the boy while responding to a reported armed robbery.

Jurors reached their verdict Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by Tyre King's grandmother. It challenged the police account of the shooting, alleging that the 13-year-old's death resulted from excessive force, racial discrimination and a failure by the police department to properly investigate and discipline officers for racially motivated or unconstitutional behavior.

Columbus officer Bryan Mason shot King in the head and torso on Sept. 14, 2016, as the teen ran from police and after King reached for what police discovered was a BB gun in his waistband, authorities have said. The gun, found at the scene, was designed to look like a real firearm and equipped with a laser sight.

The suit also named the city and its police department as defendants, but a federal judge ruled last summer that there is no evidence the city and the police department violated Tyre's civil rights, meaning they could not be held legally liable.

The family's lawsuit cited witnesses who said 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," contended that he acted reasonably to protect himself and denied having directed a slur toward the teens. A grand jury decided not to bring charges against him.

Lawyers for Mason and King's family did not immediately respond Thursday to messages seeking comment on the verdict.


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