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Family announces suit against Independence, Missouri police department, officers

KANSAS CITY, MO – The family of Tyrea M. Pryor, the 39-year-old black man shot and killed by officers with the Independence Police Department (IPD) in Jackson County, MO,  joined their attorneys Thursday to announce a federal lawsuit against the City of Independence as well as Jamie Welsh and Hunter Soule, the IPD officers who shot and killed Pryor.

Pryor’s family is represented by nationally renown civil rights attorney Harry Daniels and John Burris as well as Arimeta DuPree and Henry W Tanner Jr.

The lawyers said in a news release that Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker has failed to bring the facts of the case to a grand jury despite conflicting statements from the officers and video showing Welsh and Soule shooting and killing Pryor while he was defenseless and trapped in a wrecked vehicle over a pistol that simply didn’t exist.

“This wasn’t some tragic mistake,” said Daniels. “Officers Welsh and Soule made a conscious and deliberate decision to fire 15 shots that not only killed Tyrea Pryor while he was unarmed, immobile and defenseless, but almost killed an innocent bystander and their fellow officer.”

“The County Prosecutor may be too scared to fight for justice. But we aren’t.”

In March, the attorneys formally requested that the Department of Justice investigate the killing following Prosecutor Baker’s refusal to bring Welsh’s and Soule’s actions before a grand jury.

“From Tyrea Pryor to Oscar Grant, we’ve seen the same thing again and again,” said Burris whose previous clients include Rodney King and the family of Oscar Grant whose death at the hands of Bay Area Rapid Transit police was turned into the critically acclaimed film Fruitvale Station. “These officers think that badge is a license to kill and they don’t care who gets in the way.”

“Thanks to Prosecutor Baker and the City of Independence, Jamie Welsh and Hunter Soul are on the streets right now armed for bear,” said DuPree. “That’s not just dangerous. It’s deadly.”

Click HERE to view a copy of the filed lawsuit.

Click HERE to view the video and investigation reports.

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