Columbus, Ohio, police release graphic bodycam footage of Ma’Khia Bryant shooting

Screen grab of body cam footage
An image from body-camera footage showing Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, on the ground after being shot by a police officer in Columbus, Ohio, on April 20, 2021. Courtesy of Columbus Police Department
  • A police officer in Columbus, Ohio, fatally shot Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, on Tuesday.
  • Bodycam footage shows her running toward two other girls as officers approached.
  • An officer fired several shots at Bryant as she appeared to attack one of the girls.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Police body-camera footage released after the fatal police shooting of a 16-year-old girl in Columbus, Ohio, show her running past an officer while holding what the police described as a knife.

The video showing the shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant was shown at a press conference Tuesday night. She was pronounced dead a little over half an hour later at a local hospital.

Officers were dispatched to the Walnut Heights area or Columbus at 4:36 p.m. after receiving a call that several girls were fighting outside, interim police chief Michael Woods told reporters.

The police arrived at the two-story home at 4:44 p.m., and the footage shows a group of six to eight people in front of the house.

Warning: The video below contains graphic footage and strong language.

Within the first few seconds of their arrival, Bryant runs into the body camera’s view and appears to push another girl to the ground.

Bryant then runs away from the officer whose camera is recording and appears to swing a knife at another girl standing by the hood of a car.

The officer fires his weapon at Bryant; four distinct shots can be heard. A knife appears to drop next to her as she falls to the ground.

The entire incident occurs within the first 15 seconds of the video.

Two officers then move toward Bryant and call for medical support while people nearby can be heard yelling, “She’s a f—ing kid, man” and “Are you stupid?”

The video shows some blurred faces. Woods said at the press conference that this was to comply with public-records laws requiring juveniles’ faces to be obscured.

City officials said they would be unable to release all the footage from the scene straight away, citing a pending review from Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is investigating the killing.

Family members identified Bryant as the victim, as did the Franklin County Children’s Services agency, which said she was a foster child.

Bryant’s mother Paula Bryant told local TV reporter Lacey Crisp: “She was a very loving, peaceful little girl. She was 16 years old, she was a honor roll student. Ma’Khia has a motherly nature about her. She promoted peace. And that’s something that I want to always be remembered.”

-Lacey Crisp (@LaceyCrisp) April 21, 2021

Hazel Bryant told The Columbus Dispatch local newspaper that Bryant was her niece. She said the girl lived at a foster home on Legion Lane where the shooting took place. She said her niece got into an altercation with someone else at the home, prompting the police call-out.

Speaking to WSYX, the local ABC affiliate, Hazel Bryant said Ma’Khia was a “good kid.” Differing from Ma’Khia’s mother, she said she was 15 years old.

“She was loving,” Hazel Bryant said. “Yeah she had issues. But that’s ok. All of us go through s— … She didn’t deserve to die like a dog on the street.”

-WSYX ABC 6 (@wsyx6) April 20, 2021

The unidentified officer has been placed on administrative leave.

“It’s a tragic day in the city of Columbus. It’s a horrible, heartbreaking situation,” Mayor Andrew J. Ginther said during Tuesday night’s press conference. “We felt transparency in sharing this footage, as incomplete as it is at this time.”

Woods said protocol allowed police officers to use deadly force to protect themselves and others. He said the independent investigators would assess whether the officer’s actions were justified.