Moments before the guilty verdict came down for the trial of Derek Chauvin, a teenage girl was shot and killed by police in Columbus, Ohio
Ma’Khia Bryant was fatally shot by police in Columbus, Ohio yesterday, just minutes before the judge read out the jury’s guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. Her death is truly a reminder that Chauvin being found guilty is only the beginning when it comes to justice for Black lives taken by police.
According to reports, the Columbus Division of Police sent officers to the scene at 4:36pm after a 911 caller said they were under attack by someone trying to stab them. At 4:44pm, officers arrived to find several teen girls standing outside a house. This was confirmed by body camera footage from the first officer on the scene.
The footage shows the police officer asking the girls what was going on and a girl pushed another girl to the ground and then another against a car. The girl had a knife in her hand. The officer yelled “get down, get down” and then fired four shots, only 10 seconds after leaving his car. The girl fell to the ground and the crowd surrounding them began to scream. A woman asked, “Is she shot?” and the officer replied, “She had a knife.” A man says, “She’s a fucking kid, man.”
Bryant, who was 16 years old according to the Columbus Dispatch using information from the Franklin County Children’s Services, was later pronounced dead at Mount Carmel East hospital.
Ma’Khia’s mother, Paula Bryant, tells reporters her daughter was an honor roll student and a sweet child. “This never should have happened,” she tearfully told 10TV. “She’s a loving girl.”
The officer who shot the child has been pulled off the street. “I’m very upset, I’m hurt. I want answers,” Paula Bryant says. She indicates the 911 caller was Ma’Khia. “My daughter dispatched Columbus police for protection, not to be a homicide today,” she says. Police have not yet confirmed who the 911 caller was.
Hazel Bryant, Ma’Khia’s aunt, tells reporters, “Police rolled up, shot my niece four times.”
People came to the scene and began talking to the officers pointing out the significance of the girl being shot “on the day of the George Floyd verdict.”
Eventually, protests began at the scene of Bryant’s death.
Malissa Thomas-St. Clair, founder of Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children, tells Spectrum News 1 Ohio of her feelings after finding out the Chauvin verdict only to be devastated by the news of Bryant’s death moments later. “It is absolutely devastating that I am driving home from an appointment in elation, honking my horn in jubilation, filled with hope in thinking there’s maybe a turn that the nation deserves, and then simultaneously all of those feelings of positivity brought down to devastation in the blink of an eye is devastating,” she says.
Paula recounts the last time she saw her daughter. “We hugged each other. She said, ‘Mommy, I made honor roll.’ She said ‘Mommy, I’m looking forward to coming home.'”
Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation is conducting a criminal investigation that will include examining the officer’s actions at the scene. Mayor Andrew Ginther addressed reporters. “The city of Columbus lost a 15-year-old girl today. We know based on this footage the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community,” he said. “But a family is grieving tonight. And this young, 15-year-old girl will never be coming home.”
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