Individuals In Columbus Collect To Protest Capturing Of Black Teenage Woman : NPR

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Ma’Khia Bryant’s death by a police officer in Columbus, Ohio is under investigation. The video with the body camera showed her attacking two people with a knife.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Protesters marched in Columbus, Ohio last night after an officer shot a 16-year-old man.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: (singing) She was a child.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (singing) She was a child.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: (singing) Ma’Khia Bryant.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (singing) Ma’Khia Bryant.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: (singing) Say your name.

INSKEEP: Ma’Khia Bryant was involved in a fight, according to 911 calls on Tuesday. Her aunt says Ma’Khia called the police for help. The body cam video shows Officer Nicholas Reardon getting out of his car, and the video shows Ma’Khia Bryant with a knife that she lifts as if about to throw herself into another person. The officer yells, gets out, and then fires his weapon. Frank Morris of NPR is in Columbus. Frank, good morning.

FRANK MORRIS, BYLINE: Good morning Steve.

INSKEEP: We heard a little about the case there, but work our way through the evidence as it is today. I know we learn a little more every day.

MORRIS: We’re learning more because the police released more videos of the incident last night. This is body camera footage from another of the answering officers, so it’s a different angle. The Columbus Police Department quickly released initial footage of Officer Nicholas Reardon’s Body Nicholas firing his gun. The videos show officials responding to a disturbance on a residential street that appeared to revolve around Ma’Khia Bryant. Seconds after officers show up, Bryant is shown pouncing on a woman who is falling. Reardon draws his gun and screams. Then Bryant turns to another woman and pulls back, knife in hand, while the woman crouches by the side of a car. And then, less than 15 seconds into the encounter, Reardon fired multiple shots, killing Bryant. The interim police chief of Columbus, Michael Woods, refused to comment on the murder as it is under investigation by state authorities. But at a press conference yesterday, he said officials are trained to respond in kind.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE)

MICHAEL WOODS: When officers are confronted with someone using lethal force, lethal force can be the response that the officer gives.

INSKEEP: So that’s the information and the explanation, I think that’s the word the police give. How do people react on the street?

MORRIS: Well, as you mentioned, there were several protests last night. I walked to one on the street in front of Police Headquarters in downtown Columbus and saw Tonay Daniel watching with tears in his eyes.

TONAY DANIEL: It won’t change anything overnight, but I think it will make them see us in a different light. We are not animals. We are just asking for a little peace and normalcy.

MORRIS: Daniel says she lives a few blocks from Ma’Khia Bryant, who was living with her foster family. She believes that Bryant, like most teenagers, faced various types of problems. But she thinks – she certainly doesn’t think she deserves death.

INSKEEP: Are there any other incidents that are worrying the people of Columbus?

MORRIS: Yes, there were quite a few. The Columbus Dispatch reports that five people have been killed by police since May. And there are two really noticeable ones. In December alone, 23-year-old Casey Goodson Jr. was killed in his Columbus door, and another man was also killed by Columbus police in December.

INSKEEP: Frank, thank you very much.

MORRIS: Are you betting, Steve? Many Thanks.

INSKEEP: This is Frank Morris from NPR.

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