What We Know About The Police Killing Of A Black Teen In Columbus Tuesday

Protesters kneel and raise their arms if front of a row of police officers as they gather peacefully to protest the death of George Floyd at the State Capital building in downtown Columbus, Ohio, on June 1, 2020. - C... Protesters kneel and raise their arms if front of a row of police officers as they gather peacefully to protest the death of George Floyd at the State Capital building in downtown Columbus, Ohio, on June 1, 2020. - Columbus, Ohio is under a city wide curfew starting 10:00pm. Major US cities -- convulsed by protests, clashes with police and looting since the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd a week ago -- braced Monday for another night of unrest. More than 40 cities have imposed curfews after consecutive nights of tension that included looting and the trashing of parked cars. (Photo by SETH HERALD / AFP) (Photo by SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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April 21, 2021 11:36 a.m.

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.

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.

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. 

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