Columbus, Ohio, police released graphic video from a body-worn camera showing the Columbus police shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. You can watch the video in this story, but be forewarned that it is disturbing.
Bryant was shot and killed by an officer in Columbus shortly before the verdict in the Derek Chauvin case was already focusing renewed attention on police-related deaths. Police said Bryant was wielding a knife and had attacked two people. [In Elizabeth City, NC, a man named Andrew Brown was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy in an unrelated incident on the morning of April 21, 2021, causing protests in that city as well.]
The officer who shot and killed Bryant has been named as Nicholas Reardon.
You can watch the bodycam video below. The video was played during a police press conference with Columbus Interim Chief of Police Michael Woods only a few hours after the shooting as police attempted to quell growing protests. Woods said the video was from the first officer who arrived on the scene and ultimately shot Bryant.
“Normally we don’t provide information this soon, but we understand the public’s need, desire and expectation to have transparency upon what happened,” Woods said. He added that the information being shared did not include anything from interviews with witnesses or officers conducted by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
The press conference starts at about 5 minutes into the below video. The bodycam video is played shortly thereafter.
On April 21, 2021, Woods said the state of Ohio is “conducting a criminal investigation into this incident.” He played three additional body cam videos. He also played two 911 calls.
Watch the newest body cam videos here.
“Officers attempted life-saving measures almost immediately after the shots were fired,” said Woods.
In the first 911 call, you can hear chaos in the background. “Get here now!” a female says, telling the dispatcher, “We got…girls here trying to fight us, trying to stab us, trying to put her hands on our grandma. We need a police officer here now.”
Bryant’s family has claimed that Bryant herself called police, but police said they couldn’t confirm or deny that. Here’s video of the press conference, which contains the 911 calls and additional body cam video. “She came after me,” the woman in pink tells an officer in a newly released body cam video. “She came after me,” she says. An officer asks, “With a knife?” The woman in pink responds, “Yeah, so he got her.”
Police said that the girl shot was a “female with a knife trying to stab” another person when the officer fired. The bodycam video shows the officer arriving at a chaotic fight scene, with Bryant attacking another female, who falls on the ground, before moving toward a second woman near a car, police say with a knife. The video shows the officer’s gun raised in his hands before four gunshots ring out and Bryant falls to the ground against the car. She continues moving as other officers approach her. Bystanders scream at police.
“She had a knife,” the officer says in the video. “She just ran at her.”
“She’s a f****** kid, man,” one bystander says.
You can see a knife in her hand in the video.
The bodycam video shows the knife on the ground after Bryant was shot.
Officers are allowed to use deadly force to protect the life of a third person, authorities said; the shooting is under investigation, and the officer’s name has not been released.
Other graphic videos emerged from the scene, which you can also see throughout this story. Protests erupted.
The circumstances of the shooting are still under investigation. The shooting happened on April 20, 2021, after officers were dispatched to the location on Legion Lane because “a caller said females were there trying to stab them and put their hands on them,” Woods said in the press conference. He said they arrived at the scene at 4:44 p.m.
Bryant’s name was confirmed by her family to ABC6 and other local news stations. Some sites gave her name as Makiah Bryant, Makiyah Bryant or Makhia Bryant, but her mother confirmed to 10TV reporter Lacey Crisp that the correct spelling is Ma’Khia Bryant. Other reports gave her age as 15, but her mother told local journalists she is 16.
Family Members Expressed Anger at the Scene, Describing Ma’Khia, a Foster Child, as a Loving Person
Franklin County Children Services released a statement saying that Bryant, 16, was a foster child who was under the agency’s care. “This was a tragic incident and FCCS is continuing its involvement with the family throughout this difficult time,” the release says, naming Bryant and saying she was fatally shot in southeast Columbus.
A woman who said she was Bryant’s aunt told reporters the girl was a loving person who didn’t deserve to die “like a dog in the street.”
10TV reporter Lacey Crisp wrote on Twitter, “Paula Bryant tells me her 16 year-old daughter Ma’Khia Bryant was an honor roll student and a sweet child. Ma’Khia was shot and killed by a Columbus Division of Police officer on Legion Lane at 4:30p today.”
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther confirmed the girl had died. “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. We are working to review it as soon as possible. BCI is on the scene conducting an independent investigation,” he wrote on Twitter, “as they do with all CPD-involved shootings. We will share information that we can as soon as it becomes available. I’m asking for residents to remain calm and allow BCI to gather the facts.”
A woman who said she was Bryant’s aunt described her as a good person and expressed great anger at her death. Be forewarned the video contains expletives.
“You ain’t going to have my niece go out like that. Either you report the truth or you don’t report nothing,” she told reporters at the scene.
“She was a good kid. She was loving. Yeah she had issues, but that’s okay. All of us go through s***. She was 15 motherf****** years old. She didn’t deserve to die like a dog in the street.”
Police Responded to a Call of an Attempted Stabbing
According to Woods, the initial call to police came in around 4:32 p.m. April 20, 2021, for an attempted stabbing in the 3000 block of Legion Lane in Columbus. 10TV reported that police responded to a disturbance.
“The caller reported a female was trying to stab them, then the caller hung up,” The Columbus Dispatch reported.
According to 10TV, Bryant’s family says the teen “called the police for help because girls were fighting outside her house.”
The girl’s aunt, Hazel Bryant, told The Dispatch that Bryant lived in a foster home and “got into an altercation with someone else at the home.” She said Ma’Khia had a knife but alleged she dropped it before being shot multiple times by a Columbus police officer. Police have not confirmed nor denied those details.
The Shooting Upset Many People at the Scene
“This is the racist a** b**** that shot this poor f****** girl,” a woman said in a live stream video on Facebook. She said the officer said the girl “tried to stab him.”
“That’s someone’s f****** daughter b****,” the woman said in a graphic live stream. You can watch it here and below, but be aware it’s disturbing.
A woman’s sobbing is heard in the video. It’s not clear whether the officer pictured in the above video is the same officer who shot Bryant, however.
Here’s more video from the scene. Again, it contains graphic language.
Bryant’s mother told Crisp: “Ma’Khia had a motherly nature about her. She promoted peace.”
Bryant showed a joy for life in her many TikTok videos. Here’s one.