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Columbus Police Release Bodycam Footage In Shooting Of Ma'Khia Bryant

NOEL KING, HOST:

A few minutes before a judge in Minneapolis handed down a verdict of guilty in Derek Chauvin's trial, police in Columbus, Ohio, responded to 911 calls about a domestic disturbance. They arrived to commotion. People were fighting outside of a house. And within seconds, they shot a teenage girl, Ma'Khia Bryant. She died later in a hospital. Police released body camera footage last night. Andy Chow is a reporter with Ohio Public Radio. He's been following this developing story. Good morning, Andy.

ANDY CHOW, BYLINE: Good morning.

KING: What does the video show?

CHOW: The biggest takeaway that you get from watching the body camera footage is just how quickly everything happens. You see a police officer - still unnamed by the city - get out of his car. And then there's a lot of commotion on this driveway in a neighborhood, a newer development in Ohio - or in Columbus. And then you see someone get pushed down to the ground. The person who pushes that woman to the ground then turns to somebody else. That's when you hear the cop shout, get down, about four times and then fire what sounds like four shots at what looks like a really close range. Police showed a slowed-down version of the events through that body camera footage. And it looks like the girl may have dropped a knife. The police attended immediately to the girl medically. And then you hear the cops say that she had a knife.

KING: OK, so we'll be waiting on the police for more details and looking for more details in the video. But what has the reaction been in Columbus?

CHOW: Well, this is clearly a traumatic, tragic event. And almost immediately after news broke that Ma'Khia Bryant was shot and killed by police, protesters started showing up at this neighborhood. About a few dozen were there by the end of the night with signs, with bullhorns, shouting against police violence, shouting for racial justice. And then down the road in downtown Columbus, a much larger group of protesters started showing up to demonstrate at Columbus police headquarters.

There's also been a lot of confusion around the details of this event. We're getting information bit by bit throughout the night and then, of course, still going into today about exactly what happened. And Hazel Bryant says that she's Ma'Khia's aunt, and Hazel remembers Ma'Khia as loving. She's a sweet child in the foster care program trying to do her best. And Hazel's frustration with police was extremely evident yesterday.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HAZEL BRYANT: The police just taking out our Black people, one by one by one. Now it's like they're not only taking out our adult men and our adult women, but now they're taking out our kids.

KING: And so what are the police in Columbus saying?

CHOW: Well, almost immediately after everything happened, police handed the investigation over to independent investigators with the state's attorney general's office. They're known as the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. And that could lead to an indictment if they determine that a crime has been committed. And we don't know if there has been. But the interim police chief said that that officer will be taken off the street. Law enforcement has been under a lot of criticism here in Columbus. There have been people protesting. And then we also noted that there was a - body camera footage was released immediately because the city wants to get ahead of it.

KING: Reporter Andy Chow with Ohio Public Radio. Thanks, Andy.

CHOW: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.