comScore Black Teenage Girl Fatally Shot by Police in Columbus, Ohio

Black Teenage Girl Ma’Khia Bryant Fatally Shot by Police in Columbus, Ohio

Protestors Add "Defund The Police" Messaging To Washington DC Street WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 08: People walk down 16th street after “Defund The Police” was painted on the street near the White House on June 08, 2020 in Washington, DC. After days of protests in DC over the death of George Floyd, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has renamed that section of 16th street "Black Lives Matter Plaza". (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Just after the news of the guilty verdict in the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin in last year’s killing of George Floyd, a new story of Black death flooded the news. A police officer in Columbus, Ohio, shot a teenage girl, 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, Tuesday evening while responding to reports of an attempted stabbing.

There has been a lot of conflicting information about what exactly happened, who called the police, and what Ma’Khia was doing.

One neighbor, identifed as Ira Graham III, said to CNN: “I can certainly see why the police officer chose to stop her. Now, whether or not less lethal force could have been used, whether or not a Taser could have been chosen instead of a gun — I don’t know.”

Others have said that Ma’Khia was using the knife to defend herself because the other girls were attempting to harm her. According to what NPR has heard: “Bryant allegedly called officers at about 4:30 p.m. local time when a group of ‘older kids’ threatened her with assault.”

Regardless, the police brought a gun to a knife fight, and rather than de-escalating the situation, firing a warning shot, or using any sort of non-lethal force, this teenager was shot four times.

“No matter what the circumstances, that family is in agony, and they are in my prayers,” Ned Pettus Jr., the public safety director for the city of Columbus, said during the news conference according to The New York Times. “They deserve answers. Our city deserves answers. I want answers, but fast, quick answers cannot come at the cost of accurate answers.”

“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 [sic] will never be coming home,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said at Tuesday night’s news conference. “It’s a tragic day in the city of Columbus. It’s a horrible, heartbreaking situation,” he added. “We felt transparency in sharing this footage, as incomplete as it is at this time” was critical.

If Dylan Roof, a domestic terrorist, can be non-lethally arrested, why can’t this girl?

Ma’Khia Bryant doesn’t need to be a flawless, perfect, exceptional victim for us to continue to address the overuse of force by the police—a force they seem reluctant to use when white aggressors are committing violence.

Why are we so comfortable with having the police be executioners? It says a lot that suddenly, people are so concerned with the life of the other young girl (who, for the record, I’m glad is unharmed), but that doesn’t erase the fact that the goal should be for both of them to be alive.

Interim Columbus Police Chief Michael Woods said that there were be an investigation: “We want to be sure that independent review from them, that we stay out of their way, and we provide the information that they request from us.”

I wish that empathy and critical thinking on the issues of policing weren’t always concerned with only thinking perfect people deserve due process before being killed.

(via CNN, image: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.