Ma’Khia Bryant was shot dead by Columbus police Tuesday after, according to her family, calling them for help. And before the 16-year-old’s body was even cold, a Columbus cop showed up to the crime scene wearing a “Blue Lives Matter” mask.
Columbus emergency services received a call at 4:32 p.m. that “females were trying to stab them and put their hands on them,” interim Columbus Police Chief Michael Woods said at a Tuesday press conference. Ma’Khia’s aunt Hazel Bryant told the Columbus Dispatch that her niece got into an altercation with another child at the foster home where she lived.
Incomplete and edited body camera footage released by Columbus police within hours of the incident shows the officer arriving at the scene and asking “What’s going on?” as multiple people, including Bryant, are fighting.
Warning: this video includes graphic footage of the shooting and its aftermath.
As Bryant pushes another girl up against a car, the cop yells, “Get down” and then fires four shots at Bryant, who falls to the ground. The officer, who has not been named, then tells a group of people, “She just went at her.” A man responds: “She’s a fucking kid, man.” A knife is shown on the ground next to Bryant, and the video ends as Bryant begins receiving medical attention. She later died at a local hospital.
Bryant’s mother told Columbus station WBNS that her daughter was a “very loving, peaceful little girl” and said she had a “motherly nature about her.”
“She promoted peace, and that’s something I want to always be remembered,” she added.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said in a Tuesday evening tweet that it was “a tragic day in the city of Columbus.”’
But as anger spread about Bryant’s killing, a Columbus cop at the scene antagonized Black residents by wearing a Blue Lives Matter mask, according to a Facebook video and an eyewitness account to the Washington Post. “It’s an insult,” a man says in the video.
Columbus police did not immediately return a request for comment from VICE News.
Woods said the cop who shot Bryant has been pulled off duty pending investigation. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is currently investigating the shooting, Woods said.
Protesters gathered at the scene of the shooting and at Columbus police headquarters Tuesday evening.
Bryant’s shooting happened just minutes before a guilty verdict on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter were handed down against Derek Chauvin, the ex-Minneapolis cop who killed George Floyd last May. Columbus, like most cities around the U.S., saw sustained protests against Floyd’s murder last year.
Between the beginning of Chauvin’s trial on March 29 and April 17, 64 people—an average of three Americans per day—were killed by police, the New York Times reported last week. More than half of those killed were Black or Latino.