INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The family of a Jackson County man shot and killed by Independence police say they plan to file a federal lawsuit.
Independence police shot 39-year-old Tyrea Pryor in March 2022.
Now his family is filing a lawsuit against the city of Independence and the officers involved, Jamie Welsh and Hunter Soule. Attorneys and Pryor’s family plan to speak Thursday at the Justice and Dignity Center in Kansas City.
Police were initially dispatched for a disturbance call that quickly turned into a high-speed chase when officials said Pryor left the scene.
Dispatch recordings from Broadcastify accused Pryor of firing shots at police. The chase ended when Pryor crashed his car into another vehicle.
When officers approached Pryor’s vehicle, they said they saw a firearm inside the vehicle, which Pryor’s family disputes. Officers fired, killing the 39-year-old.
“They killed him over a pistol that did not exist,” Pryor’s family attorney Harry Daniels said in March.
After review, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office determined there wasn’t a pistol in the vehicle, but there was an assault rifle.
Pryor’s family attorney said another Independence officer secured the rifle at the time the two officers shot Pryor. Daniels said that officer was nearly hit by at least one bullet.
The prosecutor’s report made no mention of Pryor allegedly firing at officers.
Attorneys for Pryor’s family disputed the claim as well. They also said Pryor was incapacitated after the crash and trapped inside the vehicle.
“He was actually trapped,” Daniels said in March. “That does not give anyone the right to shoot and kill. The threat has to be an imminent threat. Just because you commit an act down the street don’t give you the right to kill you on the other block if you’re no longer a threat.”
Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker declined to press charges against the officers involved or send the case to a grand jury.
Baker said the officers were wrong in thinking Pryor was moving a pistol, but the law requires her office to demonstrate the officer’s use of force was unreasonable. Baker said that evidence is insufficient.
After the prosecutor declined to press charges, Pryor’s family attorney called on federal prosecutors to take on the case. In March, the U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment to FOX4 on whether it will investigate.