Families of black men killed by Ohio police want independent probes

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 27, 2016 11:08 AM

(Reuters) - The families of two African-American males fatally shot by Columbus, Ohio, police will speak publicly on Tuesday in their push for independent investigations into the deaths.

The police shootings of 13-year-old Tyre King on Sept. 14 and Henry Green, 23, on June 6 in Columbus, along with similar recent incidents in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, have added to the broad debate on race relations and given rise to the Black Lives Matter movement.

"The families of both Tyre King and Henry Green continue to request full, thorough and independent investigations by an outside law enforcement agency," the attorneys for the families said in a statement announcing the 2 p.m. news conference.

The families have said witnesses to both shootings contradict police accounts and they want the police department as well as the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office to remove themselves from any involvement in the investigations.

According to the Columbus Police Department, a police officer shot King multiple times after the boy pulled what appeared to be a handgun from his waistband during an encounter following a report of an armed robbery.

It was later determined King had an air pistol that fires BBs - small metal pellets, not bullets. Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said the BB gun looked almost identical to the 9mm Glock semi-automatic handguns carried by city police.

A forensic report prepared by a medical examiner hired by the family said the teenager was shot while running away. The Franklin County Coroner's Office has said a determination on the cause and manner of King's death was pending.

Green was fatally shot by two plainclothes Columbus police officers who saw him with a gun on the street, the Columbus Dispatch reported. He allegedly fired at them but family and friends said the officers did not identify themselves. The newspaper cited police saying the officers had shown their badges.

Green's family also said he was licensed to carry a gun.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman; Editing by Bill Trott)