COLUMBUS, Ohio – Police shot and killed a teenage girl on Tuesday in Columbus, just before a jury convicted former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin of the death of George Floyd last year.
In an unprecedented move, Columbus police later showed body camera footage of an officer shooting the girl, who was black, as she appeared to be attempting to stab two people with a knife.
The video shows an officer approaching an alley with a group of young people standing there. In the video, it appears the teenager, who was shot dead moments later by police, pushes or swings someone who falls to the ground.
As the footage continues, the teen then appears to swing a knife at a girl who is on the hood of a car, and the officer fires his gun which looks like four times, hitting the girl.
A black-handled blade resembling a kitchen knife or steak knife appeared to be on the sidewalk next to her immediately after she fell.
Later Tuesday evening, Franklin County Children’s Services confirmed that the slain girl was Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, and that she was in foster care.
Columbus Police said the Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating the case, but the city wanted to release the body camera to give more information to the public.
“It is a tragic day in the city of Columbus. It is a horrible and heartbreaking situation, ”said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, who previously urged residents to remain calm. “We felt transparency in the sharing of these images, as incomplete as they are now” was critical.
Columbus Interim Police Chief Michael Woods said officers were allowed to use lethal force to protect themselves or a third party. He said the investigation has yet to be completed to determine whether the officers’ actions were justified.
Columbus Director of Public Safety Ned Pettus Jr. has urged the public to be patient while the investigation continues, and city officials have once again called for peace.
“She could be my granddaughter,” Pettus said. “Either way you look at this, it’s a tragedy.”
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Officers responded to an attempted stabbing when police shot the girl at around 4:45 p.m., authorities said. The 911 caller reported that a woman was trying to stab them before hanging up, they said.
The girl was taken to hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said. It is not known if anyone else was injured.
Hazel Bryant told the Columbus Dispatch, which is part of the USA TODAY Network, that she was Ma’Khia Bryant’s aunt. The girl was living with a foster home on Legion Lane and had an argument with someone else at the residence, she said.
Bryant said his niece had a knife, but claimed the girl dropped the knife before being shot repeatedly by a police officer.
“ Say your name ”: demonstrations develop on filming locations
A crowd gathered on Tuesday evening at the scene of Legion Lane, which police had partially blocked from traffic. Others gathered at the city’s police headquarters to protest, a week after officers sprayed cayenne pepper on a group attempting to enter the headquarters after police murdered a black man who had a gun in a hospital emergency room.
Hundreds of protesters pushed through police barriers outside the headquarters and approached police as city officials showed body camera video inside. Many chanted: “Say his name!” While others indicated the victim’s age by shouting, “she was just a child”. Officers on bicycles pushed back the protesters and threatened to spray the crowds with pepper spray.
Protesters carrying Black Lives Matter signs, megaphones and a loudspeaker joined the crowd gathered behind a crime scene tape about half a block from the filming scene.
“We can’t celebrate anything,” KC Taynor said through a megaphone of the Chauvin verdict. “… At the end of the day, you know what, you can’t be Black.”
Kiar Yakita, of the Black Liberation Movement, said she was not surprised that another police shootout had taken place. “Why did they kill this baby?” she asked out loud.
Hana Abdur-Rahim, of the Black Abolitionist Collective, said: “We are in a literal genocide. We are fighting for our lives.”
At a board committee hearing on Tuesday night that allowed members to meet with candidates for a new police civilian review board to investigate officers’ uses of force, board chairman Shannon Hardin , announced that there had been another police shooting.
“We don’t know much as it is, and as we watched the Minneapolis verdict, many spoke of the sigh of relief – but it’s true that for so many in our community, it doesn’t. there is no relief. This is not good, it is not OK and it cannot continue.
“We’re going to need the fullest transparency to find out more (about the latest incident). But the truth is, nothing we do will bring this little girl back. Nothing will stop the family from making it. mourning. “
Hardin told interviewed panel members that the latest shooting shows why the city needs a civilian review board, “and we need to fundamentally rethink security in our city.”
“It certainly highlights what you have been called upon to do in our community, each of you: provide oversight, accountability and transparency in policing in our community,” he said. he adds.
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The Columbus shooting comes after Miles Jackson, a 27-year-old black man, was killed in a shootout with officers at Mount Carmel St. Ann Medical Center in Westerville, Ohio earlier this month. Columbus Police released body camera footage of the incident last week and identified two officers involved in the shooting.
Contributors: Bethany Bruner, The Columbus Dispatch; The Associated Press.
Follow Mark Ferenchik on Twitter @MarkFerenchik.