[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
Police in Columbus, Ohio released officer body camera footage on Tuesday night of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant being fatally shot, which took place earlier in the day.
According to local news outlet, Bryant (pictured above, lower left inset) was actually the one who called police in the first place on Tuesday afternoon, reporting that people were fighting outside of her home in the Ohio city. And not long after her phone call for help at 4:30 p.m. local time, she was dead.
Interim city police chief Michael Woods informed the media that Bryant apparently called 9-1-1 requesting assistance from officers during an altercation outside her house. An officer on scene found several people fighting — including one person lunging to attack two other people with “what appeared to be a knife.”
It’s still unclear who was fighting, or in what capacity Bryant was involved; Woods didn’t mention her name during the initial press conference yesterday and consistently mis-referenced her as “a 15-year-old girl,” and not her true age of 16.
Woods said after the officer fired into the altercation, medics “were called right away,” and CPR was administered. The interim chief added:
“This is a tragedy for all involved, but especially the family of the female… We understand the public’s need, desire, and expectation to have transparency.”
Woods says the officer who killed Bryant will be “taken off the street” while the shooting is being investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. As of now, it appears no deescalation was even attempted before shots were fired.
Also at the press conference, Columbus city mayor Andrew Ginther called the shooting a “horrible, heartbreaking situation,” and added:
“We know from this footage that the officer took action to protect another young girl in the community. We think it’s critically important to share as much information as possible, as quickly as possible. So, we’ll continue to share footage, other information in the hours and days ahead.”
Bryant’s grieving mother, Paula Bryant (pictured above, top left inset), spoke to local news station WBNS about the tragedy.
Understandably, she was “very upset” at the loss of her daughter’s life, and she noted she wants to know exactly why it happened as it did, saying:
“I’m hurt. I want answers. My daughter dispatched Columbus police for protection, not to be a homicide today. We hugged each other [when they last met late last week]. She said ‘Mommy, I made honor roll.’ She said ‘Mommy, I’m looking forward to coming home.’ Ma’Khia had a motherly nature about her. She promoted peace. That is something that I want to always be remembered.”
Wow. So awful…
In the hours after the shooting — which coincidentally took place around the same time that the verdict was publicly announced in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis — demonstrators took to the streets to remember Ma’Khia Bryant and protest police violence:
— Richard 🎥 (@richaaron10tv) April 21, 2021
Here’s more from Ma’Khia’s mother, Paula, in an interview with local news outlets in Columbus in the hours after her daughter’s tragic death (watch below):
So, so sad. Our society’s theories on policing and public safety need a serious, complete overhaul. This system can’t go on like this.
Our hearts go out to Bryant’s family, friends, and loved ones during this unimaginable time.
[Images via WBNS 10TV/YouTube]