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Ohio Police Fatally Shoot Black Teenage Girl Who Called Them For Help Just As Chauvin Verdict Handed Down


In Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday, a 16-year-old Black girl was shot by a police officer while responding to a call about a fight involving a knife in a neighboring front yard. Early reports gave the girls age as 15.

The girl who died was named Ma'Khia Bryant.

Body cam footage was released quickly after protests broke out in downtown Columbus.

The video revealed there were multiple individuals involved in an altercation, with one person holding what appeared to be a knife with a black handle similar to a steak knife.

The video showed one girl falling onto the ground after another girl is seen lunging towards her, followed by that same individual lunging towards another girl attempting to dodge her attacks.

The police officer is heard saying this as he gets out his gun:

"Hey, hey, hey, hey. Get down!"
"Get Down! Get down! Get down! Get down!"

In a news conference, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said:

"We know based on this footage, the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community."
"But a family is grieving tonight and this young 15-year-old girl will never be coming home."

Ginther also stated:

"We know based on this footage the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community."

An investigation is taking place to determine whether or not the officer broke the Ohio state law on use of deadly force.

Interim Police Chief Michael Woods said at the news conference:

"Deadly force can be used to protect yourself or the protection of a third person."

All of this happened only 30 minutes before Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd on all three counts.

In an interview with WBNS, Paula Bryant—Ma'Khia's mother—said:

"Ma'Khia had a motherly nature about her. She promoted peace."
"That is something that I want to always be remembered."

Longtime neighbor and community member Kimberly Shephard shared her reaction to the news:

"The neighborhood has definitely went through its changes, but nothing like this."
"But this is the worst thing that has ever happened out here and unfortunately it is at the hands of police."
"We were happy about the verdict. But you couldn't even enjoy that."
"Because as you're getting one phone call that he was guilty, I'm getting the next phone call that this is happening in my neighborhood."

So many people in the Columbus community and beyond are speaking of grief, anger, loss, and heart ache over the roller coaster that was Tuesday.

This is not the first time a Black child has been murdered by police, sparking protests for Black Lives Matter across the country. In 2014, Tamir Rice at age 12 was fatally shot by police for playing with a toy gun.

Black kids are six times more likely to be shot by police based on this study by Pediatrics.

The discrepancy in police reaction to armed White murderers and Black children was cited by many online.

The #SayHerName campaign has brought attention to the many women and girls who have gone unnoticed or forgotten in the movements for Black Lives and Defund the Police.

We will continue to keep Ma'Khia Bryant in our thoughts.