A police officer in Columbus, Ohio, saved a young woman yesterday from another 16-year-old girl who attacked her with a knife, but Black Lives Matter protesters have called for the officer’s punishment.
The officer, who has not been identified, shot and killed the attacker before anyone was seriously injured.
Columbus Police released body cam footage of the incident just hours after it occurred. Protests had already begun, but police and the Columbus mayor believe the footage justifies the officer’s behavior.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, a Democrat, mourned the loss of the young victim but defended the officer’s use of deadly force.
“It’s a tragic day in the city of Columbus. It’s a horrible, heartbreaking situation,” he said. “We felt transparency in sharing this footage, as incomplete as it is at this time” was critical.
“We know based on this footage the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community,” he told reporters.
Police had been dispatched to a residence after receiving reports of a violent assault at that location. The entire incident was caught on the officer’s bodycam footage, which showed the altercation unfold within about 12 seconds.
“What’s going on? What’s going on?” the officer asks upon arriving at the scene and exiting his vehicle.
Immediately after his arrival, a girl can be seen falling to the ground while Bryant swings a knife at her. “Hey! Hey!” the officer shouts as he draws his sidearm.
Bryant turns and goes after another girl and pins her against a car. In the video, a knife can clearly be seen in her right hand. “Get down! Get down! Get down! Get down!” the officer yells. When Bryant does not stop her attack, the officer shoots her four times while the other girl runs away.
Police immediately began administering aid. Bryant was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly thereafter.
The facts of the incident didn’t dissuade protestors from characterizing the case as another unjustified police shooting.
They gathered at the crime scene with Black Lives Matter signs, megaphones, and a loudspeaker, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
“We don’t get to celebrate nothing,” K.C. Taynor said through a megaphone of the Derek Chauvin verdict. The verdict came down about 25 minutes after the shooting occurred. “…In the end, you know what, you can’t be Black.”
Kiara Yakita, founder of the Black Liberation Movement Central Ohio, said she is not surprised that another police shooting happened. “Why did they kill this baby?” she asked aloud.
Mike Fair added, “there should be an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
Video from Legion Lane: pic.twitter.com/bdEdl0BUDo— Marc Kovac (@ohiocapitalblog) April 21, 2021
One man who lived in the neighborhood confidently explained to reporters what happened in the incident.
“My understanding is that the police didn’t even say, ‘Drop the knife.’ He just got out of his car and started shooting her,” he said. The man claims to have spoken with people who witnessed the entire incident.
Neighbor Ira Graham III describes what he was told happened on Legion Lane: pic.twitter.com/0QrUlHRdi0— Marc Kovac (@ohiocapitalblog) April 21, 2021
Interim Police Chief Michael Woods told reporters that the law allows officers to use deadly force in defense of others. Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation is now reviewing the killing.