A police officer in Columbus, Ohio, shot a teenage girl Tuesday evening while responding to reports of an attempted stabbing. The girl, identified by family members and Franklin County Children’s Services as Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 5:21 p.m. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting.
Bryant, who is Black, was shot at about 4:45 p.m., or 15 minutes before a Minneapolis jury returned guilty verdicts in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the white former police officer who killed George Floyd, who was Black. Protesters quickly gathered near the home where Bryant was shot. A woman who identified herself as Hazel Bryant, aunt of the victim, told The Columbus Dispatch that Ma’Khia Bryant lived in a foster home and got into an altercation with someone at the home. The aunt said her niece had a knife, but maintained she dropped it before the officer shot her.
Columbus officials Tuesday night released body-camera footage from the officer who shot Bryant. It shows the officer firing four shots as Ma’Khia Bryant as she appeared to swing the knife at another woman. The other people at the scene erupted in angry disbelief.
“We know, based on this footage, the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community, but a family is grieving tonight and this young 15-year-old girl [sic] will never be coming home,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said at Tuesday night’s news conference. “It’s a tragic day in the city of Columbus. It’s a horrible, heartbreaking situation,” he added. “We felt transparency in sharing this footage, as incomplete as it is at this time” was critical.
Interim Columbus Police Chief Michael Woods said BCI will be in charge of the investigation, and “we want to be sure that independent review from them, that we stay out of their way, and we provide the information that they request from us.”