On Tuesday, Ma’Khia Bryant was shot and killed by Columbus police officers after calling them for help.
She was 16.
Her aunt Hazel Bryant told Ohio Statehouse News Bureau that Bryant called the police after a group of young people threatened her.
In the bodycam footage of the incident, an officer is seen approaching a driveway as a group of young people stand by. Bryant can be seen either pushing another young girl, who then falls to the ground.
Bryant then runs away from the officer and appears to swing a knife at another girl standing by the hood of a car before the officer fires his weapon at least four times. A knife seems to fall next to her as she falls to the ground.
Bystanders can be heard yelling, “She’s just a kid!” and “Are you stupid?” as two officers approach Bryant, calling for medical support.
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.
Interim Chief Mike Woods did not identify the police officer during the press conference. When asked whether the officer’s actions on Tuesday were “within division policy” he responded: “This officer will be taken off the street, decisions about policy will come with the conclusion of the criminal investigation.”
Bryant’s mother Paula Bryant spoke fondly of her daughter following the shooting: “She was a very loving, peaceful little girl. She was 16 years old, she was a donor roll student. Ma’Khia has a motherly nature about her. She promoted peace. And that’s something that I want to always be remembered,” she told a 10tv reporter.
As the verdict for the Chauvin trial was announced, many rejoiced, unaware of Bryant’s killing. But the joy is short-lived. Now the community must turn its attention to ensuring justice if done for Ma’Khia Bryant and her family.