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Family Of Slain Teenager Plan Lawsuit Against Columbus Police

Columbus Ohio Police Ford Interceptor Utility
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The lawyer for the family of a 16-year-old who was shot and killed by a Columbus Police officer during a robbery sting says they are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Byron Potts represents the family of Julius Ervin Tate Jr., who was shot by a Columbus Police officer last Friday. Tate's death came as part of a Columbus Police crackdown on armed robberies. Police say Tate tried to rob an officer at gunpoint when he was shot by another officer.

Potts says he is investigating and compiling documentation.

“I have a sworn affidavit from an eyewitness that says that this was done totally different than what has been put on the news,” Potts says. “That he was basically shot in cold blood.”

Potts would not produce the affidavit or say who filed it.

According to Potts, the eyewitness says Tate didn't have a gun at the scene of the shooting, but rather police retrieved one from the house after the shooting. He would not specify whose home.

“They shot him on the street, then came back to the house and got a gun from the house,” Potts says. “He did not have a gun on him at the time this happened.”

Potts says the eyewitness alleges the shooting happened outside the house.

“But they knocked on the door and brought him out of the home,” Potts says. “That's what our eyewitness signed an affidavit saying.”

A Columbus Police spokesperson says police did not plant a gun, but that Tate had one on his person at the time of the shooting.  

The timeline for filing the lawsuit is unknown.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.