Columbus, OH Police Shooting: What the Columbus PD Got Right

From bodycam footage of Columbus police shooting of Ma'Khia Bryant

After last night’s release of footage from the Columbus, OH police shooting, where a white officer shot and killed a teenage Black girl, it appears the typical narrative has now gone sideways.

From USA Today:

Franklin County Children’s Services identified the girl who was killed as 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. Protests also quickly formed at the scene of the shooting and the city’s police headquarters.

Here’s what we know Wednesday:

portion of the body camera footage was shown to the media Tuesday night in an unusual decision by the city and police.

The video shows an officer approaching a driveway with a group of young people standing there. In the video, it appears Bryant pushes or swings at a person, who falls to the ground.

Bryant then appears to swing a knife at a girl who is on the hood of a car, and the officer fires his weapon, striking Bryant, who died a short time later.

It was a smart move on Columbus PD’s part to review the video quickly, then get it out to the media. The Columbus Dispatch described it as an “unprecedented move,” as did USA Today. Perhaps this should now become a precedent in these types of situations, because I believe it did much to suck the oxygen out of the narrative.

Interim Police Chief Michael Woods said in yesterday’s press conference,

“Normally we don’t provide information this soon, but we understand the public’s need, desire, and expectation to have transparency upon what happened. We’ve worked very hard tonight to provide you a short video of the officer, the first officer that arrived on scene. And this is the officer who did ultimately fire his weapon.”

The shooting is under investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the officer has been placed on administrative leave. Interim Police Chief Woods asked for patience in the process.

As my colleague Bonchie noted yesterday after the news broke:

If that account is true, the officer was almost certainly justified. If someone is fighting with another person and the police witness the drawing of a weapon, they have a duty to stop the armed person from harming or killing the other person they are fighting with. I have no idea how that’s even controversial, yet social media is abuzz with claims that they should have used a taser or that this was somehow a purposeful killing in retaliation for the Chauvin verdict.

ShipwreckedCrew covered the release of the footage and made this salient point:

Based on the information known at this time, there’s no question that this was a justified shooting.  The officers were responding to a call that persons were at the location attempting to stab others. Within seconds of arriving, the Officer observed a physical assault and then spotted a deadly weapon in the hands of the aggressor.  He did what the law obligated him to do — he acted to protect the girl in the bright pink outfit from having deadly force used against her by Bryant.

There are all types of unverified stories swirling around social media. That the victim Ma’Khia Bryant was the one who called the police. That she was defending herself against attack by four other girls. That it is wrong for the police to try and stop a knife attack with a gun, and other utter nonsense. Had the police officer stood back and watched Bryant stab the other young girl, I wonder what the response would have been?

Bryant is being painted as someone with a “motherly nature,” and being one who “promoted peace.”

Not more than an hour after yesterday’s incident, protestors and activists geared up and were ready to do what they do. These tragedies, which more than likely have little to do with race or police brutality, are perpetually being driven in order to support an agenda.

Everything does not require a protest. If Bryant was indeed a person of peace, her family could do well to call for peace. But, certain factions have their priorities, and they easily manipulate a community already on hair-trigger.

Race Grifter Extraordinaire Ben Crump, fresh off his win in the Chauvin Trial, is already dipping his toe in:

Let’s hope the Columbus PD and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation continue to make the right moves.