Columbus police on Tuesday night released body-cam footage snippets of the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant by an officer while they were responding to a disturbance call at a home in the Walnut Heights area.
The Tuesday incident happened twenty minutes before a jury found former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in the May 25 death of George Floyd, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
Speaking to the press on Tuesday night, interim Columbus police chief Michael Woods said someone called 911 to report a female she said was trying to stab and “put their hands on them” at the aforementioned address. Body-cam footage shows Bryant and another girl involved in a physical altercation in front of the home shortly after an officer arrives at the scene.
After the officer orders them to break it up, Bryant is seen turning her attention to another girl and charging at her while holding what the police say is a knife, Insider reported. As Bryant attempts to attack her, the officer opens fire on her and she falls to the ground. An object that appears to be a knife is seen dropped on the ground as Bryant falls.
Following the shooting, bystanders can be heard calling out the officers, saying “She’s just a kid!” and “Are you stupid?” Bryant was transported to a nearby hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries.
“This is a tragedy for all involved, but especially the family of the female,” Woods said, according to CBS News. Woods added the officer involved in the shooting will be “taken off the street” as the incident is being investigated. The incident is also being investigated independently by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. After the BCI completes its investigation, Woods said “the divisional police will conduct an administrative review of the actions of this officer and all officers at the scene.”
In an interview with The Columbus Dispatch, Hazel Bryant, a woman claiming to be the aunt of Bryant, said her niece stayed at a foster home at the said address and she got into a fight with another occupant of the home. Though she admitted her niece had a knife during the altercation, she said Bryant dropped it prior to being hit by the officer’s bullets.
Meanwhile, Woods said officers within the department can use deadly force to either protect themselves or a third party. He, however, added: “Whether this [shooting] complies with that will be part of that investigation.”