Ma'Khia Bryant: Bodycam footage shows teen 'attempting' to stab girl before she was shot dead by cop
COLUMBUS, OHIO: Ma'Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old Black girl, was fatally shot by an officer outside her home after she called the police for help on Tuesday, April 20, afternoon, according to her family. Just hours after the incident took place, Columbus Police, in an unprecedented move, released an edited version of the body camera footage of the fatal shooting. Michael Woods, Interim Chief of Police, reportedly said that the video shows the officer acted so to save the life of another young girl.
What makes matters worse is that it happened barely an hour before Derek Chauvin, an ex-Minneapolis cop, was convicted in the murder of George Floyd. At a press conference on Tuesday, April 20 night, police showed bodycam footage of a Columbus police officer shooting the young teenage girl as she appeared to attempt to stab two people with a knife.
Warning: Graphic content
Watch the video here.
What happened just before Ma’Khia Bryant's death?
Woods said the incident began at approximately 4.32 pm when 911 received a call about a group of women trying to stab the caller and “put their hands on them”. The Columbus Police Department could not say whether the slain teen was the one to call for assistance before she was shot. At the press conference, the Columbus Police Department released an edited version of the body camera video worn by the officer who shot Bryant. Police have not yet made public the name of that officer.
In the bodycam video footage shared by the authorities, one can see an officer approach a driveway with a group of young people standing there. A young girl who was later identified as the victim Bryant, can be seen pushing or swinging at someone, who falls to the ground. It can be then seen that Bryant takes a swing at another girl who is on the hood of a car. The officer then fires his weapon that sounds like four times, striking Bryant, who falls to the ground. A black-handled blade that resembles a kitchen knife or steak knife can be seen lying on the sidewalk next to her immediately after she fell. The officer then provides medical aid to the girl who was shot.
It's unclear, based on the footage, at what point Bryant gets ahold of the knife. One man standing off on the side on the driveway is heard shouting to the officer, "She's just a kid!"
The officer then tells two other policemen on the scene that Bryant had a knife and was "coming at" the second girl. Woods said officers called a medic immediately and began CPR to Bryant. The video ends as officers on scene began to treat the girl.
Footage released for transparency
She was transported to Mount Carmel East, where she was pronounced dead at 5:21 pm. According to the latest reports, Woods said the department released the footage as quickly as it could in an effort to be transparent with the public.
"It's a tragic day in the city of Columbus. It's a horrible, heartbreaking situation," Mayor Andrew J. Ginther said. "We felt transparency in sharing this footage, as incomplete as it is at this time" was critical. At the news conference, he said, "We know based on this footage the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community." But they noted the footage they shared with the media had been edited and was incomplete. Police said the only editing on the video was blurring the faces of minors in it.
According to the latest reports, Franklin County Children's Services confirmed that 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was in foster care and in the custody of Children's Services. Calling her death “a tragic incident," they added that the organization is continuing its involvement with the family.
Police 'allowed' to use deadly force
Columbus Police confirmed that it has requested the Bureau of Criminal Investigation is leading the investigation into the case - the BCI is often tasked with investigating shootings involving police officers.
According to NPR, Woods said that police officers are authorized to use deadly force to protect themselves or a third party. Woods said the department must follow the Ohio law on public records before it can share the full video. He said that process should be completed and the video will be released Wednesday, April 21. They will also release other details of the shooting and the officers involved, he said
Ben Crump, who represented the Floyd family in their civil case against the city of Minneapolis, tweeted, "As we breathed a collective sigh of relief today, a community in Columbus felt the sting of another police shooting as @ColumbusPolice killed an unarmed 15yo Black girl named Makiyah Bryant. Another child lost! Another hashtag. #JusticeForMakiyahBryant"
As we breathed a collective sigh of relief today, a community in Columbus felt the sting of another police shooting as @ColumbusPolice killed an unarmed 15yo Black girl named Makiyah Bryant. Another child lost! Another hashtag. ✊🏾🙏🏾#JusticeForMakiyahBryant https://t.co/9ssR5gfqm5— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) April 21, 2021
This story will be updated as facts are released by the police.
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