A video taken from a police bodycam showed a teenager fatally shot by an officer in an incident in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday. The girl was seen swinging a knife at two people before the officer shot her, as per the Associated Press.
The 10-second video starts with the police officer getting off his vehicle at a house. As per Police Chief Michael Woods, law enforcement had been dispatched following a 911 call of someone being physically threatened.
The officer in the video then moved toward the driveway with a group of people. Shortly after, an African-American girl started swinging a knife at another woman, who fell backward. The officer shouted several times, commanding the girl to get down.
However, the girl with the knife charged at another woman who was pinned against a car.
The officer then fired four shots, and the girl slumped to the ground. The weapon, a black-handled blade that looks like a kitchen knife, lied on the ground next to the teen.
A man in the scene yelled at the officer, saying he didn’t need to shoot the girl. However, the officer replied by saying the girl had a knife and attacked the other woman.
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According to the AP report, the girl was rushed to a hospital but was pronounced dead.
The police did not identify the girl nor her age. AP mentioned, however, that the girl’s name is Ma’Khia Bryant. One family member said she was 15 years old, while another claimed she was 16.
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The police showed a portion of the video on Tuesday night, which many deem was a surprising decision for the department. It seems like an unusual decision given that the incident took place on the same day Derek Chauvin’s verdict was read. However, according to Woods, this was done for transparency. Ohio state law lets police use deadly force for protection, and investigators would need to determine if it was justified in the Columbus incident.
After the incident, protesters gathered and went past the barriers of the police headquarters. They approached law enforcement officers while the city officials showed the video inside the building. Many of the protesters repeatedly said “Say her name!” while others shouted, “she was just a kid.”
Officers on bicycles tried to control the crowd and push them back. They even threatened to use pepper spray on them.
As per the AP, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther defended the police officer’s use of deadly force. He said that based on the footage, the officer had to use deadly force to protect another young girl.
The Girl’s Family Paints a Different Picture
Ma’Khia Bryant’s family, however, told another story. They said she was trying to protect herself from the women who confronted her. They also mentioned that Bryant was the one who called 911.
Hazel Bryant, who said she was the aunt of Ma’Khia, said the girl had been staying in a foster home. Ma’Khia’s aunt also said that several adult women went to the said home and started to confront her, so she called the police, as well as her father and grandmother
Hazel also noted that Ma’Khia was at the front of the house, trying to fend off a physical attack when the police officers arrived. Then, she was shot without any warning by the officer.