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Police fatally shoot black teenage girl in Ohio as Floyd verdict announced
21 April 2021, 16:44
The girl had allegedly attempted to stab two people.
Police in Ohio shot and killed a black teenage girl who swung at two other people with a knife, according to bodycam footage from the officer who fired the shots minutes before the verdict in George Floyd’s killing was read.
Officials with the Columbus Division of Police showed a segment of the footage hours after the shooting in a neighbourhood on the city’s east side.
The decision to swiftly release the video was a departure from protocol as the force faces immense scrutiny from the public following a series of recent high-profile police killings that have led to clashes.
The 10-second clip begins with the officer getting out of his car at a house where police had been dispatched after someone called 911 saying they were being physically threatened, Interim Police Chief Michael Woods said at the news conference.
The officer takes a few steps towards a group of people in the driveway when the girl starts swinging a knife wildly at another girl or woman, who falls backwards. The officer shouts several times to get down.
The girl with the knife then charges at another girl or woman who is pinned against a car.
From a few feet away, with people on either side of him, the officer fires four shots, and the teenager slumps to the ground. A black-handled blade similar to a kitchen knife or steak knife lies on the pavement next to her.
A man immediately yells at the officer: “You didn’t have to shoot her! She’s just a kid, man!”
The officer responds: “She had a knife. She just went at her.”
The race of the officer wasn’t clear and he was taken off patrolling the streets for the time being.
The girl was taken to hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said. It remains unclear if anyone else was injured.
She was identified as 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, according to Franklin County Children Services, which said she was under the care of the agency at the time of her death.
Protesters who had gathered peacefully after the Floyd verdict to call for police reform and accountability quickly shifted their focus to the killing of Ma’Khia.
The crowd of about 100 could be heard chanting outside police headquarters as city officials offered their condolences to her family.
Mr Woods said state law allows police to use deadly force to protect themselves or others, and investigators will determine whether this shooting was such an instance.
Columbus mayor Andrew Ginther mourned the death of Ma’Khia but defended the officer’s use of deadly force.
“We know based on this footage the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community,” he told reporters.
The shooting happened less than five miles from where the funeral for Andre Hill, who was killed by another Columbus police officer in December, was held earlier this year.
The officer in that case, Adam Coy, a 19-year veteran, is facing trial for murder, with the next hearing scheduled for April 28.
Less than three weeks before Mr Hill was killed, a Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy fatally shot 23-year-old Casey Goodson Jr in Columbus. The case remains under federal investigation.
Last week, Columbus police shot and killed a man who was in a hospital emergency room with a gun on him. Officials are continuing an investigation into that shooting.