At around 4:30 p.m. yesterday, Tuesday (April 20), on Legion Lane in Columbus, Ohio, 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was shot and killed by a police officer after he and others were called to the scene regarding a disturbance.
According to WKYC’s reporting, family members said that Ma’Khia had “called the police for help because girls were fighting outside her house.” Additionally, the outlet reported that Interim Chief Michael Woods noted, “a caller reported females were trying to stab them. A dispatcher tried to obtain more information but was unable to before the call was disconnected.” At this time, it is unclear whether Ma’Khia was being “jumped” by the other girls outside her house despite the reporting of various other outlets.
In footage of the incident, the child (Ma’Khia) “appears to attempt to stab two people with a knife” before the officer fires his weapon at her, which can be heard going off four times. As per WKYC, she was taken to Mount Carmel East hospital in critical condition following the shooting and was later pronounced dead.
“The City of Columbus lost a 16-year-old girl today,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther during the Columbus Department of Public Safety’s press conference last night where police body camera footage from the shooting was shown. “[In] the video — based on this footage — the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community.”
“We think it’s critically important to share as much information as possible as quickly as possible — so we’ll continue to share footage and other information in the hours and days ahead,” Ginther emphasized before noting that the aforementioned could only be done without compromising the internal investigation being conducted by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
WKYC highlighted that Franklin County Children Services confirmed Ma’Khia was a foster child under their care. As reports continually surface, Paula Bryant — Ma’Khia’s mother — described her daughter as being an “honor roll student and a sweet child.” Additionally, in a clip down below, she also said Ma’Khia was “loving” and had “a motherly nature about her.”
“She promoted peace,” Paula said of her child.
Poignantly, the NAACP’s Colombus Branch released a statement last night that encompasses the thoughts and questions many of us have as we wait for more information on this tragic event. Its opening read, “While many of us waited anxiously on the verdict in the George Floyd murder case, a Black child was killed at the hands of law enforcement. Moments before the verdict was rendered, 16-year old Ma’Khia Bryant was shot four times in the chest by a Colombus Police Officer. Ma’Khia Bryant died shortly thereafter.”
“What threat did this 16-year-old pose to the police officer?” the statement asked at the end. “What steps were taken to deescalate the situation? Why wasn’t a taser or pepper spray used? Finally, how does a call for help result in the death of a 16-year-old child?”
Down below, a clip from Ma’Khia’s TikTok account was shared in her memory. As more information is released, we’ll keep you updated.