| 15 April 2024, Monday |

Ohio police kill black teenage girl seen threatening others with knife 

Police in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday fatally shot a black teenage girl they confronted as she threatened two people with a knife, as seen in police video footage of the encounter, according to authorities.

The incident, which fueled street demonstrations in Ohio’s biggest city, came as the nation was focused on the guilty verdict a Minneapolis jury returned against a white former Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd last year by kneeling on his neck.

Releasing police body-camera video of Tuesday’s shooting hours later, Michael Woods, the interim Columbus police chief, noted that officers involved there were responding to an emergency-911 call from someone who reported an attempted stabbing at a home on the city’s southeast side.

Arriving police encountered a chaotic scene of many people on the front lawn where the teenager in question, waving a knife, charged toward one female who falls backwards, then lunged at a second female, as shown in the video.

A slow-motion replay of the video depicts the second victim stumbling backward against a car parked in the driveway as the knife-wielding youth raises the weapon as if about to stab her, and an officer shoots.

The teenage girl immediately falls against the parked car and onto the ground, and the weapon, which seems to be a kitchen-style knife, is seen lying on the pavement close to her as an officer crouches at her side to provide medical aid.

Authorities described the teenager who was shot dead as a 15-year-old girl. However, family members have identified her as Makiyah Bryant, aged 16.

The police chief said the video, which he said shows the slain teenager trying to stab the two females, was released to the public within hours of the incident in the interest of “transparency.”

The officer who shot her is yet to be identified but appears from the video to be white. The chief said he “would be taken off the street” pending an investigation into the incident.

Around the time the video was made public, live television news coverage showed a growing crowd of demonstrators on city streets after dark, confronting a small line of police officers on bicycles.

The protest appeared from media coverage to be peaceful, with demonstrators repeatedly chanting the girl’s name.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that protesters had gathered close to the scene of the shooting earlier in the day.

Woods said the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) had opened an inquiry into the case. The city’s public safety director, Ned Pettus, Jr., appealed for calm while the probe proceeds and facts are unveiled in what he called “a devastating” loss of life.

“Fast, quick answers cannot come at the cost of accurate answers,” Pettus told a late news conference with the police chief and mayor. “BCI will conduct a fully independent investigation, which will be made public. If an officer has violated policy or the law, if they have, they will be held accountable.”

  • Reuters