The fatal police shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant, a Black teenager seen on video charging at two people with a knife, occurred just minutes after the verdict in George Floyd’s murder, causing outrage among some over Columbus police’s continued use of lethal force.
The Columbus Division of Police released video of the shooting just hours after it occurred, breaking with protocol as the force faces intense public scrutiny in the wake of a series of high-profile police killings that have resulted in clashes.
Franklin County Children Services identified the girl as 16-year-old Bryant, who was in their care at the time of her death, according to a release. The 10-second video starts with the officer getting out of his car at a house where police had been dispatched after someone called 911 saying they were being physically threatened, according to Interim Police Chief Michael Woods. Bryant starts swinging a knife wildly at another girl or woman, who falls backward, while the officer takes a few steps toward a group of people in the driveway. The officer tells you to get down many times.
Bryant then attacks another woman or girl who is pinned against a car.
The officer shoots four shots from a few feet away, with people on both sides of him, and Bryant slumps to the ground. On the pavement next to her is a black-handled blade that looks like a kitchen or steak knife.
“You didn’t have to shoot her! She’s just a girl, guy!” a man shouts at the cop.
“She had a knife. She just went after her,” the officer says.
The officer’s race was unknown, so he was removed from the streets for the time being.
Bryant was rushed to a hospital and pronounced dead, according to police.
It’s uncertain if anyone else was hurt.
According to Woods, state law allows cops to use lethal force to defend themselves or others, and authorities will look at whether this was the case in this case. Following an arrangement with the city last summer for all police shootings to be investigated by independent prosecutors under Attorney General Dave Yost’s office, Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation is now investigating the killing.
Mayor Andrew Ginther expressed his condolences for the young victim’s death, but defended the officer’s use of lethal force. “We know the officer took steps to protect another young girl in our community based on this video,” he told reporters.
The shooting occurred about 25 minutes before a judge read the verdict convicting former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin of murder and manslaughter in the killing of Floyd.
It also took place less than 5 miles from where the funeral for Andre Hill, who was killed by another Columbus police officer in December, was held earlier this year. Hill’s officer, Adam Coy, a 19-year veteran of the police, is currently on trial for murder, with the next hearing set for April 28.
A Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy fatally shot 23-year-old Casey Goodson Jr. in Columbus less than three weeks before Hill was killed. The case is now being investigated by the federal government.
Last week, Columbus police shot and killed a man who had a gun on him in a hospital emergency room. The investigation into the shooting is still ongoing.
President Joe Biden has been briefed on the shooting, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
“She was an infant at the time. We’re thinking of her friends and relatives, as well as the communities that are mourning her death “In a tweet, Pskai said.
The White House, according to Pskai, is focused on “by passing legislation on “much-needed” police reforms, to “fix institutional racism and implicit bias head on.” As a result, our primary emphasis is on confronting structural racism and racial bias head-on, as well as passing laws and regulations that will implement much-needed changes in police departments around the country.”
Kimberly Shepherd, 50, a 17-year resident of the neighborhood where the shooting occurred, said she knew the teen victim.
“There have been improvements in the neighborhood, but nothing like this,” Shepherd said of the shooting. “This is the worst thing that’s ever happened out here, and it’s at the hands of the cops.”
Shepherd and her 51-year-old next-door neighbor Jayme Jones had rejoiced about Chauvin’s guilty verdict. But, she said, things changed quickly.
“We were pleased with the outcome. But you couldn’t even enjoy it, could you? “Shepherd expressed his thoughts. “And when you’re getting a call that he’s guilty, I’m getting a call that something similar is happening in my neighborhood.”