On Tuesday, just moments before the guilty verdict was delivered in the Derek Chauvin murder trial, Columbus, Ohio police responded to a report of an attempted stabbing. When police arrived at an east side apartment on Legion Lane at 4:44 p.m., Ma’khia Bryant, 16, was shot within seconds by an unidentified officer. Bryant was taken to Mount Carmel Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 5:21 p.m.
WHAT WE KNOW
There Was an Active Altercation When Officers Arrived on the Scene
Bodycam footage appears to show Bryant involved in an argument with at least two other girls when police arrived on the scene. The footage also appears to show Bryant with a knife. Authorities say Bryant lunged at two people with the knife seen on video. Bryant’s aunt, Hazel has confirmed that her niece was involved in an altercation with someone else and did, in fact, have a knife, but that she dropped it before being shot.
The Attorney General is Currently Investigating the Shooting and Use of Force
The officer, who can be seen on bodycam footage firing four times, has not yet been identified and taken off duty.
During a press conference, Columbus, police department deputy chief, Michael Wood said that deadly force is permissible when used to protect yourself or a third person. “…That is within the policy and that is within the law, that is what the law says,” said Wood. “Whether this complies with that will be part of that investigation.”
A second, state-led independent investigation will take place by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Who Was Ma’Khia Bryant?
Authorities initially described Bryant as age 15. According to Franklin County Children’s Services and her family, she was 16 and in foster care residence.
Bryant’s mother, Paula told CBS that she last saw Ma’khia on Thursday. She says Ma’khia had just made the honor roll. “Ma’Khia had a motherly nature about her,” said Bryant. “She promoted peace. That is something that I want to always be remembered.”
A Call for Peace
It is reported that local law enforcement released the body camera footage just a few hours after the incident in an effort to be transparent. “It’s a tragic day in the city of Columbus. It’s a horrible, heartbreaking situation,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “We felt transparency in sharing this footage, as incomplete as it is at this time.”
Protesters gathered demanding justice in the neighborhood, at police headquarters, and the Ohio Statehouse. As the community grieves, mayor, Andrew Ginther is calling for calm.