Joe Biden was briefed Wednesday on the “tragic” fatal shooting by police of a 16-year-old black girl in Columbus, Ohio, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced.
A police officer shot teenage Ma’Khia Bryant Tuesday afternoon, just minutes before the jury announced its guilty verdict in Minneapolis for the police murder of George Floyd, one of the highest-profile criminal cases in the history.
Psaki acknowledged the shadow cast by Ma’Khia’s death, “just when America was hoping to step forward.”
“She was a girl. We are thinking of their friends and family, of the communities that are suffering and mourning their loss, ”said Psaki.
Protesters marched Tuesday night to condemn the murder.
In a deviation from protocol, Columbus police officers released body camera footage of the incident Tuesday night, shortly after it happened.
The clip shows the scene on the street where police were dispatched, after someone called 911 claiming they were being attacked.
Ma’Khia, who was apparently holding a knife, clashes with two people before the officer shoots her four times and she falls to the ground next to a parked vehicle.
City authorities initially said the police officer intervened to save the life of another girl whom Bryant appeared to be rapidly approaching while brandishing a kitchen knife.
On Wednesday, Mayor Andrew Ginther condemned the death of a teenager, but said: “We know that based on these images, the officer took steps to protect another girl in our community.”
State authorities are now investigating. The city’s director of public safety, Ned Pettus, reported the death at the hands of a police officer.
He said, “She could be my granddaughter. However you look at this, it is a tragedy. I understand the outrage and excitement surrounding this incident. “
He said the video footage showed “there is more to this.”
Hana Abdur-Rahim of the Black Abolitionist Collective described the ongoing killing of African Americans by police as genocide.
She said, “We are fighting for our lives.”
The shooting occurred in front of several passersby, during the day.
“She’s a fucking girl, man!” a witness yelled at the police.
Ma’Khia was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said. The officer who killed her has not been identified. Authorities said the officer was removed from patrol duty.
“I am very upset, I am hurt. I want answers, ”said Paula Bryant, Ma’Khia’s mother.
Ma’Khia was shot less than five miles from where the funeral took place for Andre Hill, who was killed by another Columbus police officer in December earlier this year.
The officer in Hill’s case, Adam Coy, a 19-year veteran of the force, now faces a murder trial, with the next hearing scheduled for April 28.
The county where Bryant was shot and killed has one of the highest rates of fatal police shootings in the United States, according to a recent study.
The Ohio Alliance for Population Health Innovation published a study in February this year that he found Police shot and killed 38 people in Franklin County, where approximately 1.3 million people live, between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2020.
An average of 4.81 per million people died in the county, according to the Alliance, the 18th highest rate of fatal police shootings among the 100 most populous counties in the United States.
As protesters gathered near where Bryant was killed Tuesday, Rayshawn Whiting, who was among them, said he had plans to visit his brother’s home and see Chauvin’s verdict, before the shots were heard.
“I have daughters,” Whiting said. And I’m tired of it. I feel like a polar bear with the ice caps melting. We have nowhere to run. If we protect ourselves, we go to jail. If we don’t, we die. “
Acting Police Chief Michael Woods said state law allows police to use deadly force to protect themselves or others, and investigators will determine whether this shooting was such.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism