Just 20 minutes before ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the brutal murder of George Floyd; a cop in Columbus, Ohio shot and killed a Black teenage girl. On Tuesday afternoon (April 20), police responded to demands from the community to release their body camera footage of the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant.
Police released just part of the footage, which shows one officer firing what appears to be four fatal shots at Bryant. Moments before the shooting, the officer yelled, “What’s going on?” at the group and Bryant is seen holding a knife up to a woman.
According to Bryant’s aunt, the teen called the police after getting into a physical altercation with a group of women at her foster home. Her aunt said Bryant was armed with a knife to defend herself, but maintains that she dropped it before police fired multiple shots at her. The video that police released jumps from Bryant holding the knife, to gunshots being heard, to Bryant laying on the ground.
“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.”
Authorities say they were called around 4:35 p.m. local time from someone who said a female tried to stab them. Along with releasing part of the body camera footage, police and the mayor also held a press conference about the shooting on Tuesday night.
Mayor Andrew J. Ginther said it was a “horrible, tragic day in the city of Columbus” and claimed, based on the footage, that “the officer took action to protect another young girl.” Interim Columbus Police Chief Mike Woods did not reveal the name of the officer who shot Bryant, but said they have been placed on administrative leave.
The shooting is being investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. As protesters gathered at the site of the shooting on Tuesday, Columbus Public Safety Director Ned Pettus Jr. urged public patience as the investigation proceeds. “She could be my grandchild. In any way you look at this, it’s a tragedy,” he said.
See the video police released below. Warning: the footage is graphic.