Black Lives Matter protests have erupted in Ohio where a 16-year-old Black girl was shot dead by police today, just as the verdict was being delivered in the George Floyd murder trial.
Police in Columbus have released graphic bodycam footage showing an officer firing multiple shots at Makhia Bryant, 16, who died in hospital a short time later.
Columbus police said officers were called to a house in the city’s east about 4.30pm on Tuesday following reports of an attempted stabbing.
Relatives of Makhia told local media she was the person who had called police, to report women were trying to stab her.
In the bodycam footage, the officer who later fired the shots can be seen arriving by car to a chaotic scene in a front yard where multiple people were in a confrontation.
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In the footage, Makhia appears to charge towards a female before the officer fires four shots at her and she collapses to the ground.
“She’s a fking kid, man!” a man can be heard yelling.
The footage shows what appears to be a kitchen knife on the ground near Makhia.
The girl was taken to hospital in a critical condition but died about 5.30pm, just an hour after the emergency call.
“She was a good kid. She was loving,” Hazel Bryant, the girl’s aunt, told reporters after the shooting. “She didn’t deserve to die like a dog on the street.”
Makhia was staying at a foster home but told her mother Paula Bryant last week she was looking forward to coming home.
“This never should have happened. She’s a loving girl,” Ms Bryant told 10WBNS.
“I’m very upset, I’m hurt, I want answers.
“My daughter dispatched the Columbus police for protection, not to be a homicide today.”
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said the police officer took action to protect another girl.
“It’s a tragic day in the city of Columbus. A horrible, heartbreaking situation,” he said.
“I’m not just the mayor, I’m a father. The city of Columbus lost a 15-year-old girl today.
“We know based on this footage, the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community. But a family is grieving tonight and this young 15-year-old girl will never be coming home.”
It was initially reported that Makhia was 15, but her family later confirmed she was 16.
An independent investigation will be carried out into the shooting.
The city’s Public Safety Director Ned Pettus said the girl’s death was “devastating” and her family deserved answers.
“Fast, quick answers cannot come at the cost of accurate answers,” he said.
“If an officer has violated policy or law, if they have, they will be held accountable.”
Protesters gathered to march in Columbus on Tuesday night after the girl’s death, carrying Black Lives Matter signs and chanting “Enough is enough” and “Say her name: Makhia Bryant”.
Local media reported the crowd grew bigger as news of the shooting spread and began to head towards the Columbus police headquarters.
The shooting happened just as former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd, a Black man whose death in police custody in Minneapolis last year sparked global Black Lives Matter rallies and protests against police brutality.
Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second degree manslaughter over the death of Mr Floyd, 46, during an arrest on May 25, 2020. He will be sentenced at a later date.
Mr Floyd died during a confrontation with police who had responded to reports he’d used a fraudulent $US20 note to buy cigarettes.
Bystanders filmed Chauvin kneeling on the unarmed Black man’s neck and back for nine minutes and 29 seconds, not moving his position despite Mr Floyd crying out he couldn’t breathe.