On April 20, 2021, 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was shot and killed in Columbus, OH, just moments before the verdict of the Derek Chauvin case was announced. Since her death, we are gradually learning more about the incident and about Bryant.
Deputy Chief Michael Woods said 911 was called at around 4:30 p.m. The caller who appeared to be female said that there were girls at the home trying to “stab them and put their hands on them,” Police then arrived at the scene at around 4:44 pm.
The bodycam shows police officer, Nicholas Reardon, getting out of the car. You then see Bryant swinging her knife at the two girls. You then hear Reardon yelling, “Get Down!” four times then you see him pull his trigger, firing four shots. The entire event from the police arriving at the scene to the shooting lasted about 15 seconds. More footage and audio from the 911 call was recently released.
According to NPR, Bryant, who was in foster care at the time, was taken to a local hospital and was soon pronounced dead due to her injuries.
Police officers are equipped with many tools to help in disputing a situation. On the body cam footage, you can see that Reardon was close enough to try to gain control of the situation without using his gun. Kyle Rittenhouse shot three people, two of which died and he was approached by the police while armed with an AR-15 style rifle but he lived to see his court date. Therefore, Bryant having a knife does not justify her being murdered.
Paula Bryant, Ma’Khia Byant’s mother, told WBNS, “My daughter dispatched Columbus police for protection, not to be a homicide today…Ma’Khia had a motherly nature about her. She promoted peace. That is something that I want to always be remembered.”
Since Bryant’s death, the world has gotten a glimpse at what her personality was like through her social media videos. Thanks to TikTok, we know that Bryant enjoyed creating hair-styling videos and showing off her dance moves. Young adult author Tiffany D. Jackson paid tribute to the honor roll student on Twitter with a recent post.
— Tiffany D. Jackson (@WriteinBK) April 21, 2021
Hopefully, the Bryant family will see justice.
By Ashleigh Howard-Jones, Senior, University High School