Ma’Khia Bryant is the fifth child to be killed by the Columbus Police Department since 2013, Insider reports. The fatal shooting of the 16-year-old led to protests and an Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation probe earlier this week.
In the past five years, Columbus police have killed five children between the ages of 13 and 17, all of whom were Black, The Washington Post’s database of police shootings records. The police department is tied with the New York Police Department for the second-highest number of child killings. Only the Chicago Police Department has recorded more officer-involved deaths, killing 12 children — including Adam Toledo — since 2013.
Mapping Police Violence data also shows that police in Columbus, Ohio have killed more than 40 people since 2013. Over 70 percent of those victims were Black, despite Black residents making up less than 30 percent of the city’s population, according to U.S. Census data.
On Wednesday (April 21), Columbus police identified the officer who fatally shot Bryant as officer Nicholas Reardon, who started with the department in 2019. The department also released part of the officer's body-worn camera footage from the shooting as well as audio from the 911 call that led to police intervention.
City officials said authorities are unable to share the whole video until the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation completes its probe. The clip from the footage shows Bryant wielding a knife against a woman before officer Reardon fired four fatal shots. Bryant’s aunt says the teen armed herself with the knife for self-defense after a fight broke out at her foster home.
Her aunt also says Bryant dropped the knife before Reardon began shooting.
“The police are going to lie,” her aunt said, per Yahoo. “I’m so thankful that someone from the family was actually on the scene. The police are going to lie. The police are going to cover up for themselves. They don’t care. At this point, I feel like they’re just out to kill Black people.”
The deadly shooting occurred just 20 minutes before ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd.