The city of Columbus, Ohio has been gripped by protests after a police killing of a Black girl was reported within 20 minutes of the Derek Chauvin verdict being announced in Minneapolis on Tuesday.
Local press have identified the teen killed as Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16 year old, citing local government and the teen’s mother.
Paula Bryant tells me her 16 year-old daughter Ma’Khia Bryant was an honor roll student and a sweet child. Ma’Khia was shot and killed by a @ColumbusPolice on Legion Lane at 4:30p today. pic.twitter.com/0FfbQVEgSD
— Lacey Crisp (@LaceyCrisp) April 21, 2021
There’s still far more that we don’t know than we do know about what happened. Columbus police released body cam footage from the officer who shot and killed Bryant, while much about the circumstances that led to and followed the shooting is not publicly known.
WBNS-TV, a Columbus TV station, cited Paula Bryant and another family member as saying that Ma’Khia Bryant had called the police to help stop a fight outside her house.
The police said at a Tuesday evening press conference that the caller hung up before identifying themselves and that they had not yet been able to establish the person’s identity.
Police offered a timeline of the incident. Columbus police said that a 9-1-1 call was made at 4:35 p.m. A caller said that a female was trying to stab people, according to police.
Body cam footage shown by Columbus police on Tuesday evening and recorded by local reporters appears to show officers arriving at a house in a squad car. Police officials said that officers responded at 4:45 p.m.
A group of people are standing outside and, as an officer approaches and asks “what’s going on,” two of those gathered appear to tumble over each other.
The victim begins to run away from the officer towards another woman. The officer draws his firearm and fires at her, and she collapses. The video begins with the officer exiting his car; around 10 seconds elapse between the start of the video and the point at which the officer shoots.
“She’s a fucking kid, man!” one bystander screamed immediately after the shooting, according to the body cam footage.
Police said that the victim, subsequently identified as Bryant, was pronounced dead at 5:21 p.m.
Facebook video taken by a local resident appears to show a police officer yelling “Blue Lives Matter” as a group of onlookers discusses the shooting. The person videotaping replies angrily, while another person at the scene describes it as “an insult.”
It’s not clear whether the teen was armed. Police have suggested she was, but Bryant’s aunt told The Dispatch that her niece had dropped the knife by the time of the shooting.
Protestors began to gather at the site of the shooting on Tuesday evening. Video from the scene shows protestors gathering and decrying the use of lethal force in the incident.
Video from Legion Lane: pic.twitter.com/bdEdl0BUDo
— Marc Kovac (@ohiocapitalblog) April 21, 2021
Interim Columbus Police Department Chief Michael Woods gathered reporters at a Tuesday evening press conference, where he gave the police’s account of what happened.
That included a showing of the body cam footage of the killing. Though the footage was recorded by reporters at the event, the actual file has not been released to the public.
Police referred to the victim at the presser as a “15 year old,” a discrepancy from what others have said. They also said they did not know who made the initial 9-1-1 call.
This post has been updated.