COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP/KDKA) — Police shot and killed a teenage girl Tuesday afternoon in Columbus just as the verdict was being announced in the trial for the killing of George Floyd.
Police showed bodycam footage Tuesday night at a news conference of the officer shooting the girl, who was Black, as she appeared to attempt to stab two people with a knife.
A black-handled blade resembling a kitchen knife or steak knife appeared to be lying on the sidewalk next to her immediately after she was shot and fell.
State law allows police to use deadly force to protect themselves or others, and investigators will determine whether this shooting was such an instance, Interim Police Chief Michael Woods said at the news conference.
Officers had responded to an attempted stabbing call when police shot the girl at about 4:45 p.m., police said. The 911 caller reported a female was trying to stab them before hanging up, they said.
The girl was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said. It’s unclear whether anyone else was injured.
“This afternoon a young woman tragically lost her life,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther tweeted.
— as they do with all CPD-involved shootings. We will share information that we can as soon as it becomes available. I’m asking for residents to remain calm and allow BCI to gather the facts.
— Mayor Andrew Ginther (@MayorGinther) April 20, 2021
He later said at the news conference, “We know based on this footage the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community.”
Police who answered the department’s phone and officers on scene were not immediately able to provide details to The Associated Press.
WBNS reports family identified the victim as 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. The family told WBNS that Bryant called police for help because girls were fighting outside her home.
A crowd had gathered Tuesday night at the scene on Legion Lane, which police had partially blocked off to traffic. Others gathered at the city’s police headquarters to protest, a week after officers pepper-sprayed a group that tried to enter the headquarters over the police killing of a man who had a gun in a hospital emergency room.
Hundreds of protesters pushed past police barriers outside the headquarters and approached officers as city officials were showing the bodycam video inside. Many chanted, “Say her name!” While others signified the victim’s age by yelling, “she was just a kid.” Officers with bicycles pushed protesters back and threatened to deploy pepper spray on the crowd.
The shooting happened about 25 minutes before a judge read the verdict convicting former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin of murder and manslaughter in the killing of Floyd.
Kimberly Shepherd, 50, who has lived in the neighborhood for 17 years, said she knew the victim.
“The neighborhood has definitely went through its changes, but nothing like this,” Shepherd said of the shooting. “But this is the worst thing that has ever happened out here and unfortunately it is at the hands of police.”
Shepherd and her neighbor Jayme Jones, 51, had celebrated the guilty verdict of Chauvin. But things changed quickly, she said.
“We were happy about the verdict. But you couldn’t even enjoy that,” Shepherd said. “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.”
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