Ma’Khia Bryant: Protesters gather at Columbus police headquarters after Black teenager fatally shot by officer

‘She was just a kid,’ demonstrators chant on Tuesday evening

James Crump
Wednesday 21 April 2021 16:36
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Columbus police release video of fatal shooting of 16-year-old girl

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Hundreds of protesters marched in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday night after a Black teenage girl was shot and killed by police in the city.

Protesters gathered outside of the Columbus police headquarters for hours on Tuesday after 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was identified by her family as the victim in the police shooting.

Paula Bryant told local 10TV that her daughter, whom she described as an honour-roll student, was shot dead in the incident on Tuesday afternoon.

The shooting took place at 4:45pm when officers were called to a disturbance on the southeast side of the city after reports of an attempted stabbing.

Bodycam footage from the responding officers shows the teenager brandish a knife and charge toward one female who falls backwards, before moving towards another.

A slow-motion version of the footage shows the second victim falling against a car as the knife-wielding youth raises the weapon as if about to stab her, as an officer opens fire on the teenager.

The shooting occurred around 20 minutes before former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of George Floyd’s murder, a high-profile killing last May that saw sustained protests across the US in opposition to police brutality against Black Americans.

Following the fatal shooting on Tuesday, hundreds of protesters gathered outside of the Columbus police headquarters, with many pushing past barriers set up to get closer to the building.

The crowd chanted “Bryant” as they approached officers outside of the building, while a group of protesters were heard shouting: “She was just a kid,” according to the New York Post.

Although officers threatened to use pepper spray on the crowd, protesters appeared to stay calm throughout the demonstration, as social media footage showed a peaceful protest on Tuesday night.

At a separate demonstration earlier in the day, members of Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children and other protesters gathered in the area of the shooting, with one person reportedly carrying a sign that read “enough is enough”.

Protesters with Black Lives Matters signs later joined the crowd of onlookers at the scene as the night progressed.

“We don’t get to celebrate nothing,” K C Taynor said through a megaphone of the verdict in the George Floyd trial, according to The Columbus Dispatch. “In the end, you know what, you can’t be Black.”

During the demonstration on Tuesday night, city officials released the bodycam footage of the fatal shooting, with the video sparking further outrage across the US.

The footage was revealed at a news conference on Tuesday night, showing an officer shooting the 16-year-old girl as she appeared to threaten two people with a knife.

The footage caught the attention of Floyd family’s lawyer, Ben Crump, who tweeted: “As we breathed a collective sigh of relief today, a community in Columbus felt the sting of another police shooting.”

Mr Crump added: “Another child lost! Another hashtag.”

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