Black teenage girl in Ohio 'shot dead by police' as Derek Chauvin jury returns verdict

Josie Ensor
·3-min read

Watch: Black teenage girl shot dead by Columbus police

A black teenage girl was shot dead by police in Ohio on Tuesday minutes after a guilty verdict was returned in the case of the officer who killed George Floyd.

Officers were responding to a call on Legion Lane in the city of Columbus when police shot the girl, who was named locally as 16-year-old Makiah Bryant.

Police later released body camera footage showing an officer shooting the victim, who was holding a knife and was poised to attack another girl.

Hazel Bryant reacts after her niece, 15-year-old Makiyah Bryant, was fatally shot by a police officer in Columbus, Ohio, - Reuters
Hazel Bryant reacts after her niece, 15-year-old Makiyah Bryant, was fatally shot by a police officer in Columbus, Ohio, - Reuters

Police Chief Michael Woods, who called a late-night press conference, said they took the unprecedented step of releasing the footage within hours of the incident as the force wanted to provide some answers for what exactly happened, with America on edge after the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin.

A video taken by a witnesses circulated on social media which appeared to show a victim wearing jeans and trainers lying motionless on the ground as a police officer stood nearby. Witnesses say the girl was shot in the chest. 

Crowds gathered near the scene shortly after the shooting, which occurred around 4.45pm, and began shouting “no racist police” and "enough is enough" at officers gathered.

Crowds react as investigators work at the scene where Makiyah Bryant was fatally shot by a police officer in Columbus - Reuters
Crowds react as investigators work at the scene where Makiyah Bryant was fatally shot by a police officer in Columbus - Reuters

In another video broadcast from the scene, one of the officers yells back: "Blue lives matter".

“She was a good kid. She was loving,” Hazel Bryant, who said the child was her niece, told reporters. She said the girl lived in a foster home and had got into a fight with someone else at the home. “She was 15 years old. She didn’t deserve to die like a dog in the street,” she said.

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Ms Bryant said police saw a knife on the ground near the girl’s body that an officer had shot the teenager four times. It was not immediately clear if the knife was the victim's.

The 911 call that brought police to the scene had reportedly cited an attempted stabbing.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther urged for calm. He tweeted: “This afternoon a young woman tragically lost her life. We do not know all of the details. There is body-worn camera footage of the incident. We are working to review it as soon as possible. 

“We will share information that we can as soon as it becomes available. I’m asking for residents to remain calm and allow (investigators) to gather the facts.”

The country has been on edge watching the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty on Tuesday afternoon of murdering Mr Floyd by kneeling on the 46-year-old black man’s neck until he was no longer breathing.

Mr Floyd's death sparked protests around the world, including in Columbus.

Watch: Celebrations at George Floyd Square following guilty verdict