A 16-Year-Old Girl Was Killed By Ohio Police. Her Family Demands Answers.

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Rose Minutaglio
·5 min read
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Photo credit: ETIENNE LAURENT/EPA-EFE - Shutterstock
Photo credit: ETIENNE LAURENT/EPA-EFE - Shutterstock

Just minutes before a jury reached a guilty verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Tuesday, a 16-year-old girl named Ma’Khia Bryant was fatally shot by police in Columbus, OH.

In a press conference, officials said they were responding to a 911 call about an attempted stabbing. Columbus police released bodycam footage a few hours after the incident. Here’s everything you need to know about the case.

The shooting happened about 30 minutes before a guilty verdict was delivered in the trial of Derek Chauvin.

At a news conference on Tuesday night, officials said Columbus police received a 911 call at 4:35 p.m. about an attempted stabbing in southeastern Columbus. The caller said a female was trying to stab them before hanging up, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Shortly after the shooting, a 12-person jury announced a verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes. Chauvin was found guilty of all charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

Photo credit: Stephen Zenner - Getty Images
Photo credit: Stephen Zenner - Getty Images

Police have released bodycam video of the shooting.

During a Tuesday night news conference, Columbus police released body camera footage from the first officer to arrive on the scene, according to WKYC Channel 3. Michael Woods, the interim police chief, said it is unprecedented for body camera footage to be released so quickly after a shooting, but that he “wanted to get that out as soon as possible” in the interest of transparency.

The video shows an officer approaching a driveway where a group of young people are gathered. One of the teenagers appears to lunge at another with what appears to be a knife. The police officer then approaches the group and shouts “get down,” before firing several shots—four can be heard in the video—fatally shooting Bryant. She collapses to the ground next to a car in the driveway. Bryant was taken to Mount Carmel East, where she was later pronounced dead.

Franklin County Children‘s Services and her mother identified the victim as Ma‘Khia Bryant.

A spokeswoman for Franklin County Children’s Services, an organization that helps place children in foster care, identified the teen who was killed as 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, according to The New York Times.

Hazel Bryant, who told The Columbus Dispatch that she is Ma’Khia Bryant's aunt, said the girl lived in a foster home and “got into an altercation with someone else at the home.” Bryant said her niece had a knife but dropped it before she was shot.

Paula Bryant, Ma’Khia Bryant’s mother, spoke with local news station WBNS about her daughter. “This never should have happened. She's a loving girl,” Bryant told the station. “I’m very upset, I’m hurt. I want answers.”

Ned Pettus, Jr., the public safety director for the city of Columbus, said on Twitter: “No matter what the circumstances, that family is in agony and they are in my prayers... They deserve answers. Our city deserves answers.”

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Who are the officers involved in Bryant‘s death?

The name of the officer who shot Bryant has not released, but he has been “taken off the street while the shooting is investigated,” according to The New York Times. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation will conduct an independent inquiry, the outlet reports.

Photo credit: Stephen Zenner
Photo credit: Stephen Zenner

Protests took place in Ohio on Tuesday night.

Demonstrators gathered outside the Columbus Division of Police’s headquarters downtown on Tuesday holding signs that read “Enough is enough” and “Black kids matter.” They chanted: “Say her name, Ma’Khia Bryant!”

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther urged residents to keep the peace in a Twitter thread, writing, “This afternoon a young woman tragically lost her life. We do not know all of the details. There is body-worn camera footage of the incident. We are working to review it as soon as possible. BCI is on the scene conducting an independent investigation...as they do with all CPD-involved shootings. We will share information that we can as soon as it becomes available. I’m asking for residents to remain calm and allow BCI to gather the facts.”

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Bryant‘s hair tutorial on TikTok has gone viral.

A video from Bryant’s TikTok channel went viral late on Tuesday night. The clip is a hair tutorial set to the song, “Just Another Interlude” by Bryson Tiller. The video, which was also shared on Twitter, has garnered more than 1.8 million views.

How you can help:

If you are looking for ways to speak out against Bryant’s death or educate yourself on the history of systemic racism and police violence in the United States, consider:

This post will continue to be updated as new information is available.

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