COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Dozens of demonstrators protesting the fatal police shooting of a 13-year-old black boy brought a city council meeting to a halt Monday in Columbus as they called for an independent investigation.
Police have said Tyre King was shot multiple times on Sept. 14 after he ran from a white officer investigating a reported armed robbery and pulled out a BB gun that looked like a real firearm.
Protesters packed the council chambers of Columbus City Hall, where they shouted down the council president and briefly took over the front portion of the room. City Council president Zach Klein said attendees would have a chance to speak, but his comments were drowned out by chants of “Take a knee for Tyre,” ”Black lives matter” and “No justice, no peace.”
As the shouting continued from a balcony and from people on the chamber floor, council members left the room and at least a dozen police officers entered.
The officers, along with Chief Kim Jacobs, quietly observed as protesters called for action from the city.
“We want an independent investigation and transparent prosecution!” shouted one protester to cheers.
Demonstrators said they don’t trust the police to investigate themselves, and they want money from a police initiative to be diverted to violence prevention and other programs.
Tyre’s family also has called for an independent investigation.
Authorities have said the police review will be presented for a grand jury to decide whether charges are merited against Bryan Mason, the officer who shot the teenager. The head of the local police union has said Mason did what he had to do in that situation.
Witnesses reported that a group of people — one witness suggested there were seven or eight — robbed a man of $10 at gunpoint east of downtown Columbus. Police have said officers investigating the report spotted several males who matched the description of the suspects and tried to talk to them, and that Tyre and another robbery suspect ran.
Monday’s demonstration ended about an hour after the council meeting began. Protesters exited City Hall and chanted they would return.
Once the meeting resumed, Klein said the council supported the right to nonviolent protests and cared deeply about the citizens of Columbus. But he said council meetings reserve a specific portion of the agenda for people to address such issues.
Outside City Hall, 29-year-old protester Hana Abdur Rahim said she believed she and others were heard by the council and “definitely seen.”
“I want them to know that we will not be silenced,” she said. “We’re tired of the police brutality in this country, specifically against minorities.”
Associated Press writer Andrew Welsh-Huggins contributed to this report.