Editor’s note: the video to which this story links is disturbing.
Columbus police on Wednesday released another bodycam video of the fatal shooting of black teenager Ma’Khia Bryant the previous day. Protesters took to the streets of the Ohio capital day and night for the second time.
Protesters gathered that afternoon and weakened until late Wednesday night, CBS Columbus subsidiary WBNS-TV reported. Hundreds passed or stopped at the Statehouse, Ohio Supreme Court and police headquarters, among others, the station said.
Bryant, 16, was shot dead by Officer Nicholas Reardon, officials said Wednesday.
Police initially released some footage from the body room Tuesday night. During a press conference on Wednesday, they unveiled the additional footage along with two 911 calls, referring to “the public’s need, desire and expectation to have transparency.”
Interim police chief Michael Woods said Wednesday that dispatches received a call for help for the first time at 4:32 p.m. According to an audio recording played during the press conference, a woman told officers that people were trying to fight and stab her and others. . A second caller from 911 also asked police to respond to the scene, but the call ended quickly after the person realized that police had just arrived there.
Officers arrived at the scene at 4:44 p.m., Woods said. A delayed version of the camera footage shows Bryant attacking two other people and jumping on one with one in her hand, just after an officer arrived there. The officer, identified by Woods as Reardon, fired his weapon several times while Bryant and another girl struggled to the side of a parked car. After the shooting, a knife could be seen next to Bryant’s body.
It was unclear what led to the altercation, which was already underway when officers arrived there.
Bryant’s family told WBNS-TV that Bryant was the one who called police for help and said people were fighting outside her home. Woods declined to comment on who called 911.
Woods said the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting. “Once the agency has completed its investigation, the divisional police will conduct an administrative investigation into the actions of this officer and all officers at the scene,” Woods said.
The officer who killed Bryant will be “removed from the street” while the shooting is being investigated, Woods said. He also said that the decision whether the officer violates any policy will come after the criminal investigation is completed and sent to a grand jury.
“It’s a tragedy. There’s no other way to say it,” Woods said. “It’s a 16-year-old girl. I’m a father, her family is sad. Regardless of the circumstances, a teenage girl lost her life yesterday.”
Andrew Ginther, mayor of Columbus, called the shooting a “horrific, heartbreaking situation” and said: “We know from this footage that the officer acted to protect another young girl in the community.”
Woods said that “lethal force can be used to protect yourself or (for) the protection of a third party … Whether or not complying with it will be part of the investigation.”
“We think it’s critical to share as much information as possible as quickly as possible,” Ginther said. “We will therefore continue to share footage and other information during the hours and days ahead.”
The mayor also asked that anyone have more information about what happened before the shooting incident, “to share the information with the appropriate authorities.”
Bryant’s mother, Paula Bryant, told WBNS she was “very upset. I’m hurt. I want answers.”
“My daughter sent Columbus police for protection, not to be a murder today,” Paula said with tears in her eyes.
Ma’Khia was in foster care, she said.
Director of Public Safety Ned Pettus Jr. said Wednesday he understands the outrage Bryant’s family is experiencing. “A teenage girl died and she died at the hands of a police officer,” Pettus said. “It’s under no circumstances a horrible tragedy.”
But Pettus warned that “the video shows that there is more to this. It requires us to stop and take a closer look at the sequence of events.”
“We have to ask ourselves: what information did the officer have? What did he see? How much time did he have to assess the situation?” Pettus said. “And what would have happened if he had not acted at all?”