Ma’Khia Bryant: Columbus police release body camera footage in shooting of 16-year-old
In an unprecedented move, Columbus police showed body camera footage of the shooting of a 16-year-old girl by a Columbus police officer just hours after the incident on the Southeast Side.
The shooting, which happened about 20 minutes before a guilty verdict was announced in the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd, prompted hundreds to protest at the shooting site and Downtown.
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Ma’Khia Bryant: What we know about the 16-year-old girl fatally shot by Columbus police
The video shows an officer approaching a driveway with a group of young people standing there. In the video, it appears that the 16-year-old, identified now as Ma’Khia Bryant, who was moments later shot by police, pushes or swings at a person, who falls to the ground.
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Bryant then appears to swing a knife at a girl who is on the hood of a car, and the officer fires his weapon what sounds like four times, striking Bryant, who died a short time later.
"It's a tragic day in the city of Columbus. It's a horrible, heartbreaking situation," Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. "We felt transparency in sharing this footage, as incomplete as it is at this time" was critical.
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Franklin County Children's Services confirmed on Tuesday night that the girl killed was 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant and that she was in foster care and in the custody of Children's Services.
Police received a 911 call at 4:35 p.m. about an attempted stabbing on the 3100 block of Legion Lane, which is located north of Chatterton Road. The caller reported a female was trying to stab them, then the caller hung up.
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Officers responded to the scene and at 4:45 p.m. an officer-involved shooting was reported.
Columbus Fire medics were cleared to come into the scene at 4:46 p.m., police said. The wounded person was transported in critical condition to Mount Carmel East hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 5:21 p.m., police said.
Columbus police stressed that the Bureau of Criminal Investigation is leading the investigation into the case, but the city wanted to release the body camera to give the public more information.
Interim Columbus Police Chief Michael Woods said officers are authorized to use deadly force to protect themselves or a third party. He said the investigation still needs to be completed to determine if the actions of the officers were justified. He said the officer, who was not named, has been placed on administrative leave.
Columbus Public Safety Director Ned Pettus Jr. urged the public to be patient as the investigation continues, and city officials again called for peace.
"She could be my grandchild," said Pettus. "In any way you look at this, it's a tragedy."
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Hazel Bryant told The Dispatch that she is the aunt of Ma’Khia Bryant. The girl lived in a foster home there on Legion Lane and got into an altercation with someone else at the home, she said.
Bryant said her niece had a knife, but maintained that the girl dropped the knife before she was shot multiple times by a police officer.
Protests develop at shooting scene
Protesters with Black Lives Matter signs, megaphones and a loudspeaker joined the crowd gathered behind crime scene tape about a half-block away from the shooting scene. About 50 people had gathered by 8:30 p.m.
"We don't get to celebrate nothing," K.C. Taynor said through a megaphone of the Chauvin verdict. "...In the end, you know what, you can't be Black."
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Kiara Yakita, founder of the Black Liberation Movement Central Ohio, said she is not surprised that another police shooting happened. "Why did they kill this baby?" she asked aloud.
Mike Fair, 63, of the East Side, brought an amplifier and a microphone to the scene, and expressed his anger, suggesting "there should be an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth."
We're not going to sit here and just sit around while you kill us, then go back in the suburbs," one protester said.
"Over and over, keep killing us" another protester said.
Hana Abdur-Rahim, with the Black Abolitionists Collective, said, "We are in a literal genocide. We are fighting for our lives."
Hardin vows reform during Columbus City Council meeting
During a council committee hearing Tuesday evening that allowed members to meet nominees for a new police civilian review board to investigate officers' uses of force, Council president Shannon Hardin announced that there had been another police shooting.
"We don't know very much as it stands, and as we watched the verdict from Minneapolis many talked about the sigh of relief — but there is a truth that for so many in our community there is no relief. This is not alright, it's not OK, and it can't continue on.
"We're going to need to have the utmost transparency as we go through and learn more (about the latest incident). But the truth is that nothing that we will do will bring this young baby girl back. Nothing will stop the family from grieving."
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Hardin told the panel members being interviewed that the latest shooting shows why the city needs a civilian review board, "and we need to fundamentally rethink safety in our city."
"It certainly does put in stark view what you have been called to do in our community, each and every one of you: to provide oversight, accountability and transparency when it comes to policing in our community," he said.
Reporters Marc Kovac and Bill Bush contributed to this story.