Last night, a cop with the Columbus Police Department shot and killed 13-year-old Tyre King, in yet another case of racist police murder in the Near East Side. Tyre was at least the third Black person to be murdered by Columbus police this summer alone, after the murders of Kawme Patrick, age 25, on June 30, and Henry Green V, age 23, on June 6.
Tyre was one of the youngest children to be murdered by police in the country since the murder of Tamir Rice in Cleveland nearly two years ago. Now, the Columbus Police Department is returning to the same racist tactics of victim-blaming used against Tamir and his family to justify the murder of this child.
They blame Tyre for his own death, on account of his having a toy gun, conveniently ignoring the fact that police across the country have regularly arrested white aggressors armed with real guns without resorting to deadly violence. We must recognize that the blame in this case falls squarely on the shoulders of the racist Columbus Police Department, which as the Columbus Free Press reported last year, has the second-highest per-capita rate of police shootings in the country, behind only Las Vegas.
In a press conference this morning, mayor Andrew Ginther stated his “thoughts and prayers” are with the King family, but the Ginther administration and city council share responsibility for Tyre’s death. Their policies of gentrifying the Near East Side, over-policing Black residents, and giving CPD ever-greater funding while cutting desperately needed services, created the context for this murder to happen.
Though they give lip-service to supporting better “community-police relations,” Ginther and city council have consistently blocked even modest efforts to address police violence, such as the creation of a Civilian Review Board. The fact that they have dedicated one-third of the city budget to police, while nearly 18% of Columbus residents live below the poverty line, makes their actual priorities clear.
We must reject the false promises of politicians and the racist lies of the media. Columbus Police Chief Jacobs today has called for “calm” pending an “investigation,” but we know that justice will not wait. Real justice can come only through the organized struggle of ordinary, working class people. We express our full solidarity with the King family, and we will continue to work alongside many others to build a movement that can end police terrorism in Columbus -- once and for all.
Jail killer cops! Justice for Tyre King!