Ma'Khia Bryant, a Black, 16-year-old girl, was fatally shot by a police officer outside her home on Tuesday afternoon in Columbus, Ohio.
Her aunt, Hazel Bryant, told a local news outlet that Bryant had called officers for help when a group of "older kids" threatened her with assault, NPR reported. Franklin County Children Services confirmed to WBNS-TV that Bryant was a foster child under their care.
CBS reported that police released bodycam video of the fatal shooting, with interim police chief Michael Woods saying at a press conference that it is unusual to have video released so quickly but "we understand the public's need, desire and expectation to have transparency."
In an interview with WBNS-TV, Bryant's mother, Paula, said that she had last seen her daughter on Thursday.
"We hugged each other, she said, 'Mommy, I made honor roll,' and she said 'Mommy, I'm looking forward to coming home,'" Paula Bryant said.
Bryant's killing at the hands of police occurred just as the verdict was announced in the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as Derek Chauvin, one of the officers involved in the incident, was found guilty on all three charges for Floyd's murder.
Following the news of Bryant's death, people began paying tribute to her by sharing videos from her TikTok account, where she often shared beauty tutorials.
What a beautiful baby girl with a beautiful, bright, kind soul she had. @ColumbusPolice MURDERED #MaKhiaBryant after SHE called them for help. She expected to be protected and instead was murdered. ABOLISH THE POLICE. ACAB. pic.twitter.com/GcCMOnkz2d
— sarah tonin (@queerandsincere) April 21, 2021
this is the only kind of imagery of her I want to see. no narratives of exceptionalism. no using her flaws as means to justify tragic ends. just her being. that’s enough of a reason to love her & be angry she’s gone. #SayHerName #makhiabryant https://t.co/P7k48ycWfB
— Imani Harris (@ImaniThaPoet) April 21, 2021
WBNS-TV reports that on Tuesday evening, a crowd of demonstrators gathered outside of the Columbus Division of Police's downtown headquarters to protest. Meanwhile, Chief Woods said the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is leading the investigation into the shooting.