The Journal Gazette
Thursday, April 22, 2021 1:00 am

Columbus police killing of girl 'tragedy': DeWine

Video shows teen had knife when shot

Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The fatal police shooting of Ma'Khia Bryant, a Black teenager seen on video charging at two people with a knife, came within minutes of the verdict in George Floyd's killing – causing outrage by some over the continued use of lethal force by Columbus police.

Officials with the Columbus Division of Police released initial footage of the shooting Tuesday night just hours after it happened, a departure from protocol as the force faces immense scrutiny from the public following a series of recent high-profile police killings that have led to clashes.

Body camera footage from the other officers on the scene was released during a briefing with city officials on Wednesday.

Bryant was identified by Franklin County Children Services and police to be 16 years old and in foster care at the time of her death.

The killing is the second high-profile fatal shooting of a teenager by police in the last month. Body camera footage released last week showed an officer shoot and kill 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the Columbus shooting “tragic” and said President Joe Biden has been briefed on it.

“She was a child. We're thinking of her friends and family and the communities that are hurting and grieving her loss,” Psaki said in a statement.

She added that the White House's focus is “to address systemic racism and implicit bias head on” by passing legislation on “much-needed” police reforms.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine also watched the footage, calling it a tragedy.

“Any time anyone is killed, it's a tragedy. Any time a teenager, a child, is killed, it's a horrible tragedy,” the Republican governor said during a briefing.

He added that while the public has the video evidence, “we need to let the investigation play out.”

The 10-second body camera clip begins with the officer getting out of his car at a house where police had been dispatched after some had called 911 saying they were being physically threatened, Woods said. It remains unclear who called the police.

The officer takes a few steps toward a group of people in the driveway when Bryant starts swinging a knife wildly at another girl or woman, who falls backward. The officer shouts several times to get down.

Bryant then charges at another girl or woman, who is pinned against a car.

From a few feet away, with people on either side of him, the officer fires four shots, and Bryant slumps to the ground. A black-handled blade similar to a kitchen knife or steak knife lies on the sidewalk next to her.

A man immediately yells at the officer, “You didn't have to shoot her! She's just a kid, man!”

The officer responds, “She had a knife. She just went at her.”

Sign up for our daily headlines newsletter

Top headlines are sent daily