Columbus Police Release Footage of Officer-Involved Shooting That Killed 16-Year-Old Girl

Columbus Police Release Footage of Officer-Involved Shooting That Killed 16-Year-Old Girl
In an image from police bodycam video that the Columbus Police Department played during a news conference on April 20, 2021, a teenage girl, foreground, appears to wield a knife during an altercation before being shot by a police officer in Columbus, Ohio, on April 20, 2021. (Columbus Police Department via WSYX-TV via AP)
Mimi Nguyen Ly

The Columbus Division of Police in Ohio, in an unprecedented move late April 20, released body camera footage just hours after an officer-involved shooting resulted in the death of a 16-year-old girl.

The girl has since been identified by a family member as Ma'Khia Bryant, local outlet 10TV reported.
The video footage shows an officer approaching a driveway where a group of people are standing, soon after which Bryant, who can be seen holding a knife, appears to try to hit or stab another girl, who falls to the ground.

Bryant then turns around and appears to try to stab another girl in pink clothing. The officer then opens fire at Bryant, after which she falls to the ground.

A black-handled blade resembling a kitchen or steak knife appeared to be lying on the sidewalk next to her immediately after she was shot and fell.

Investigators will determine whether the killing complies with state law that says “deadly force can be used to protect yourself or the protection of a third person,” Interim Police Chief Michael Woods said at a news conference late April 20.

He told reporters later: “We’ve never been able to release video this fast. But we thought it was important to share with the community to be transparent about this incident. To let them have some answers that we can provide tonight. We know we can’t provide every answer, but it’s important that we can answer some questions tonight.”

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther previously announced on Twitter that on April 20, “a young woman tragically lost her life.” He added that the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) was on the scene to carry out an independent investigation, a common protocol with all Columbus Police Department-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.”

Ginther later said at the news conference, “We know based on this footage the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community.”

Woods told reporters that police were dispatched to the scene on the city’s Southeast Side just after 4:35 p.m. after a caller reported that females were there trying to stab them and put their hands on them.

After officers arrived at the scene, around 4:44 p.m., an officer-involved shooting was reported.

A family member, Hazel Bryant, confirmed to 10TV that the person who was shot was her 16-year-old niece, Ma'Khia Bryant. Bryant was taken to a local hospital, Mount Carmel East, in critical condition, and was pronounced dead around 5:20 p.m. local time.

Hazel Bryant told the outlet that her niece lived in a foster home in the area and had gotten into a fight with someone else at the home.

The specific area of the incident was the 3100 block of Legion Lane, north of Chatterton Road.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.