In the wake of the conclusion of the Derek Chauvin case, another officer-involved shooting has been reported. On Tuesday (April 20) afternoon, viral videos of a scene out of Columbus, Ohio began to circulate. America was just settling into discussions regarding Chauvin being convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter when it was reported that a 16-year-old girl named Ma’Khia Bryant had been gunned down.
Because this incident occurred within the last 24 hours, there have been conflicting reports about what incited Ma’Khia’s death. The teen was reportedly at a foster home when someone called police dispatch and asked for authorities for help. The person claimed that there were a group of girls or women at the scene who planned to “stab them and put their hands on them.” Before dispatch could receive more information about the caller or the alleged assailants, it’s reported that the line was disconnected.
This is where information begins to divide because unsubstantiated information has circulated online claiming that Ma’Khia was the person who made the call. That has not been confirmed or denied by authorities at the time of this publication. Regardless, just hours after the incident, body cam footage from the officer who killed Ma’Khia was shared by authorities online.
The girl's mother told @10TV her daughter's name was Ma’Khia Bryant. Her aunt told us she was 15, but her mom says she was 16. She told @LaceyCrisp Ma'Khia was an honor roll student and a sweet child. Police shot and killed her on Legion Lane at 4:30 p.m. today. pic.twitter.com/qL4zh6uFyG
— Angela Reighard (@AngelaReighard) April 21, 2021
The clip shows the officer getting out of his patrol car and asking someone outside, “What’s going on?” Quickly, Ma’Khia and another girl come barrelling toward the officer as they’re fighting each other. The girl Ma’Khia was in an altercation with falls to the ground and Ma’Khia is seen being thrown toward a second woman in a pink outfit. The officer yells at Ma’Khia before firing four shots in the direction of Ma’Khia and the person in the pink outfit. Every bullet hits Ma’Khia and she slumps to the ground.
Officers arrived at the scene at 4:30 p.m. and within minutes, Ma’Khia Bryant lay dead.
This is Makhia Bryant pic.twitter.com/5Nb6bHhWcH
— Ryan (@tvisgreat) April 21, 2021
People have been debating the use of force in this case, and it’s shaping up to be a line-in-the-sand issue. In the bodycam footage, Ma’Khia is seen holding a knife in her hand, and the mayor of Columbus, Andrew Ginther, has released a statement saying that the officer used acceptable force in order to help others on the scene.
“We know based on this footage, the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community,” said Ginther. “But a family is grieving tonight.” Protests have erupted in Columbus.
— Richard 🎥 (@richaaron10tv) April 21, 2021
“Ma’Khia was named after a male prophet in the Bible. She was a very loving, peaceful little girl,” said Ma’Khia’s mother, Paula Bryant. “She was an honor roll student and um, Ma’Khia had a mothery nature about her. She promoted peace and that’s something that I always want to be remembered.”
I will not be posting the bodycam footage here, but it is readily available for viewing with a quick search on several social media platforms.
The Columbus police officer who shot Ma’Khia Bryant has been supported by those who felt as if he acted heroically, yet criticized by people who believe he could have used a Taser or some other method to control the scene. Of course, this case is developing so information is subject to change as time progresses.
I send my sincerest condolences to all who are loved ones of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. She shouldn’t have died today and I stand on the side of activists fighting for justice. She is our sister and her life matters.
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Outside of my work here at Our Black Girls, I have a longstanding career as an entertainment journalist, specifically in the Hip Hop and Rap industries. Whenever something occurs that affects members of those communities, I’m personally connected because many of us in Hip Hop consider ourselves to be a family of some sort, whether we know each other or not. I’m here to share the story of Saniyya Dennis, the 19-year-old daughter of rapper 40 Cal, real name Calvin Byrd, who was reported missing earlier this week from New York. Her family has been vocal about their frustrations with authorities because, they say, not enough is being done in the search efforts. (more…)
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