Columbus Police Fatally Shoot Black Teen Who Called Them for Help, Aunt Says
Screenshot/NBC 4COLUMBUS—A Columbus police officer shot and killed a Black teenage girl on Tuesday afternoon just as a guilty verdict was being handed down in the Derek Chauvin murder case, a family member said. The shooting victim has not been officially identified, but was named as 15-year-old Makiyah Bryant by a relative early Tuesday evening.“She was a good kid. She was loving,” Hazel Bryant, who said the child was her niece, told reporters on the east side of Columbus. “She was 15 years old. She didn’t deserve to die like a dog in the street.” Bryant said her niece has been living in a foster home on the east side of Columbus where the fatal shooting took place. She said several adult women had come to the foster home and started an altercation with the teenager, who called police and her biological father and grandmother for help. She grabbed a knife to defend herself, Bryant said.According to Bryant, who said she had been told of the events by Makiyah’s grandmother and father, Makiyah was in front of the house fending off a physical assault when police arrived, and she had already dropped the knife in the yard. But police shot her four times without any warning, she said. “The police are going to lie. I’m so thankful that someone from the family was actually on the scene,” Bryant said. “The police are going to lie. The police are going to cover up for themselves. They don’t care. At this point, I feel like they’re just out to kill Black people. They’re not here to protect and serve. That isn’t happening. That’s been over a long time ago. They’re not here to protect and serve. They’re here to kill Black folks.” The Columbus Dispatch reported that police officers were sent to the scene after a 911 caller reported an attempted stabbing, saying a female was trying to stab them.Bryant disputed information circulating in local media that Makiyah had tried to stab someone and appeared to be a threat, saying Columbus police had released false information to explain the shooting. “I’m overwhelmed,” Hazel said. “It’s awful.”In an interview with The Daily Beast, Bryant’s great-grandmother Ila compared Makiyah’s death to that of Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed during a no-knock raid on her apartment in March 2020.“It looks to me like that’s what the police wanted to do, to kill her. I’m just trying to figure out why,” Ila Bryant said. “We have to remember that we should love each other.”Her mother, Paula Bryant, told 10 WBNS, “She was a very loving, peaceful little girl. She was an honor-roll student, and Makiyah had a motherly nature about her. She promoted peace.”A woman identified as Tay Jones wrote on Facebook that she had witnessed the shooting and posted video purportedly from the scene. She said the 15-year-old had a knife “because somebody tried to jump her.” The white police officer who shot her never told her to put down the knife, according to Jones. The teen was transported to a nearby hospital, Mount Carmel East, where she succumbed to the injuries sustained in the shooting, local station NBC 4 reported. The department has reportedly contacted the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to review the use of deadly force. The police department’s public information office did not respond to a request for comment.About 100 people gathered in downtown Columbus late Tuesday to protest the shooting. They chanted, “Say her name! Makiyah Bryant!” and “Black Lives Matter!”Hana Abbur-Rahim, the lead organizer of Black Abolitionist Collective Ohio, told The Daily Beast the shooting was proof of an alarming trend. “It’s important to recognize that Black women are being killed by the police. Why can’t we be safe in our own homes?” she said. Video from the scene shortly after the shooting showed a person lying on the ground in jeans and bright sneakers as bystanders yelled at police. Columbus mayor Andrew Ginther wrote on Twitter, “This afternoon a young woman tragically lost her life. We do not know all of the details. There is body-worn camera footage of the incident.”The killing occurred just as the verdict was being announced in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts in the death of George Floyd, an unarmed, 46-year-old Black man, in May 2020.Local Columbus activist K.C. Taynor of Exodus Nation told The Daily Beast the latest police killing made it impossible to celebrate the Chauvin verdict. “It’s another murder,” he said. “They’re animals. They treat us like animals.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.