Just as Black America was beginning to enjoy the vindication of the conviction of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd, a 16-year-old Black girl was fatally shot by police in Columbus, Ohio.
Ma’Khia Bryant was shot on April 20 and the Columbus Division of Police has already released body camera footage.
A teenage girl was threatening two other females with a knife before she was shot, police said. However, the family of Ma’Khia Bryant says Ma’Khia was defending herself. She was an honor student, according to her mother, Paula Bryant, Heavy.com reported.
An investigation is underway, interim Columbus police chief Michael Woods said at a press conference.
The video showed Ma’Khia lunging at two other females with a knife as a police officer arrived at the driveway of a residence, according to police. The officer then fired several times — four shots could be heard in the video — at Ma’Khia, The New York Times reported.
In the video, a man can be heard yelling, “She’s just a fucking kid, man!”
Officers tended to Ma’Khia until she was transported to a nearby hospital, Mount Carmel East, where she died of her injuries.
The name of the officer, who has been taken off the street pending an investigation, has yet to be released. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation will conduct an independent inquiry, which local officials said is standard whenever an officer shoots someone, The Daily Beast reported.
Ma’Khia had been in foster care, according to the Franklin County Children’s Services.
Hazel Bryant, who said she was Ma’Khia’s aunt, told The Columbus Dispatch that Ma’Khia had gotten into an altercation with someone else at the foster home.
“She was a good kid. She was loving,” Hazel Bryant said. “She didn’t deserve to die like a dog in the street.”
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Several adult women had come to the foster home and started an altercation with Ma’Khia, who called police and her biological father and grandmother for help, according to Hazel Bryant. Ma’Khia grabbed a knife to defend herself.
“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. They’re not here to protect and serve. That isn’t happening. That’s been over a long time ago. They’re not here to protect and serve. They’re here to kill Black folks,” she said.
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