As Black people rejoiced Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict in the George Floyd murder case, tragedy has struck again. A family is reeling after Columbus police fatally shot a 16-year-old cherub-faced Black girl on Tuesday afternoon.
Police were called to the 3100 block of Legion Lane in Columbus, Ohio, shortly after 4:30 p.m. for an attempted stabbing. Although details surrounding prior events leading up to the shooting are sketchy, the Columbus Dispatch reported that Ma’Khia Bryant was shot four times in the chest by an unidentified police officer as bodycam footage showed her wielding a knife.
As officers showed up on the scene, the cop with the recording bodycam asked, “Hey, what’s going on?”
Within 13 seconds of his arrival, Bryant lay dead on the pavement. According to audio from the video, he never asked her to drop the weapon, attempt to restrain her or deescalate the situation.
*Trigger Warning and Graphic Content*
Although there are conflicting reports, the Daily Beast reported that Bryant initiated the call to law enforcement, along with her grandmother and father, and that she grabbed a knife to defend herself.
The girl’s mother, Paula Bryant, described her as “loving” and expressed that she was an honor roll student.
Paula Bryant tells me her 16 year-old daughter Ma’Khia Bryant was an honor roll student and a sweet child. Ma’Khia was shot and killed by a @ColumbusPolice on Legion Lane at 4:30p today. pic.twitter.com/0FfbQVEgSD
— Lacey Crisp (@LaceyCrisp) April 21, 2021
Her aunt, Hazel Bryant, made it clear that she wasn’t going to allow white media to vilify her niece.
She told ABC 6, “You ain’t gone have her go out like that. Either you report the truth, or don’t report nothing, ok?”
“She was a good kid. She was loving. Yeah, she had issues, but that’s ok. All of us go through s**t. You know what? She was 15- muthaf****n’ years old. She didn’t derserve to die like a dog in the street.
WARNING: Video contains strong language. A woman near Legion Lane in South Columbus says her niece was killed earlier tonight after an officer involved shooting. Police still haven’t confirmed the victim. https://t.co/kBtSPxc6Xh pic.twitter.com/eTpmyWsoZK
— WSYX ABC 6 (@wsyx6) April 20, 2021
As residents gathered, three Columbus police officers on the scene where the 16-year-old died were caught on video yelling, “Blue Lives Matter.”
The disrespectful display set the neighbors off. And rightfully so.
— Queen Lea (@heyyyleaaa) April 20, 2021
Even in the wake of tragedy, a pig will be a pig.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther extended his condolences to Bryant’s family and disclosed that a full investigation would occur.
“This afternoon, a young woman tragically lost her life. We do not know all of the details. There is body-worn camera footage of the incident. We are working to review it as soon as possible. BCI is on the scene conducting an independent investigation,” he posted on Twitter.
This afternoon a young woman tragically lost her life. We do not know all of the details. There is body-worn camera footage of the incident. We are working to review it as soon as possible. BCI is on the scene conducting an independent investigation . . .
— Mayor Andrew Ginther (@MayorGinther) April 20, 2021
At the time of Bryant’s death, she was in foster care. Franklin County Services issued a statement to Heavy, saying, “This was a tragic incident, and FCCS is continuing its involvement with the family throughout this difficult time.”
Ma’Khia Bryant was a 16-year-old child who deserved better.