Columbus Police Department have defended their officers after they fatally shot a sixteen-year-old girl.
Scroll on to hear their stance on the matter...
Now, the incident unfolded on April 20th in Columbus, Ohio.
At around 4pm, police officers responded to an emergency call over an attempted stabbing.
Upon their arrival, they found a sixteen-year-old girl, who has since been identified as Ma'Khia Bryant, attempting to stab another girl.
After attempting to diffuse the situation, one of the officers opened fire and, despite CPR being performed, Ma'Khia was killed.
Bodycam footage provided by the police shows an altercation with a group of individuals outside a house...
15 Year-Old girl, Ma’Khia Bryant Fatally shot today by Columbus Division of Police !!!!— Duece Duece ✨ (@DueceDes) April 21, 2021
RIp baby girl 💕🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/TfHXKfRo4u
Before one of them - said to be Ma'Khia Bryant - appeared to lunge at another member of the group with a knife in hand.
Then, a police officer approached the group in the driveway and shouted "get down" before firing several shots, fatally injuring the girl.
The officer can be heard saying in the footage, "She had a knife, she just went at her."
A bystander, however, shouted that she was just a child.
Ma'Khia's aunt, Hazel Bryant, told reporters that her niece had got into a disagreement with another girl at the foster home in which she resided.
She later said the teen called the police, her father, and grandmother for help, and grabbed a knife to protect herself.
"She was a good kid. She was loving," Hazel Bryant said.
"Yeah, she had issues but that's OK. All of us go through sh*t... She didn't deserve to die like a dog in the street."
As soon as the news of Ma'Khai's death broke, Ohio's Bureau of Criminal Investigation launched an investigation into the events that took place.
Mayor Andrew Ginther on Tuesday told reporters that information will be released as quickly as possible before adding that, as a father, he was grieved by what happened.
"The city of Columbus lost a sixteen-year-old girl today. We know based on this footage the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community," he said.
Three white officers say, "blue lives matter" to a group of black residents at the scene where police shot and killed a 15-year-old girl. pic.twitter.com/TGkejEiaho— scott keeler (@_WhatRiot) April 21, 2021
"But a family is grieving tonight. And this young sixteen-year-old girl will never be coming home."
Protesters quickly gathered at the scene...
Just moments after #DerekChauvin was given a guilty verdict, protestors have gathered in SE Columbus after a police involved shooting took place involving a teen fatality. I’ll be bringing you more updates so stick with @SpectrumNews1OH. pic.twitter.com/EPmDurfWEP— Jamilah Muhammad - Spectrum News 1 OH (@jmuhammadtv) April 20, 2021
Many holding signs saying: "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH."
"It is absolutely devastating that I am driving home from an appointment in elation, honking my horn in jubilation, filled with hope in thinking there's maybe a turn that the nation deserves, and then simultaneously all of those feelings of positivity brought down to devastation in the blink of an eye is devastating," Thomas-St. Clair said.
Ma'Khia's mom quickly spoke out about her daughter's death.
I can’t stop crying as I think about Paula Bryant grieving the murder of her daughter Ma’Khia at the hands of the @ColumbusPolice she called seeking help. She did what y’all tell us to do. And she paid with her life. #NoJusticeNoPeace— Nancy Kirkpatrick (@nancyskirkpat) April 21, 2021
"I'm very upset, I'm hurt. I want answers," Paula Bryant said.
"My daughter dispatched Columbus police for protection — not to be a homicide today."
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 @ColumbusPolice on Legion Lane at 4:30p today. pic.twitter.com/0FfbQVEgSD— Lacey Crisp (@LaceyCrisp) April 21, 2021
She said her daughter had been staying in a foster home and Thursday was the last day she saw her.
"We hugged each other. She said, 'Mommy, I made honor roll.' She said, 'Mommy, I'm looking forward to coming home,'" Bryant said.
"Ma'Khia had a motherly nature about her. She promoted peace. That is something that I want to always be remembered," she added.
Well, the officer who fired the fatal shot has now been identified as Officer Nicholas Reardon.
The Columbus Division of Police have confirmed that it was officer Nicholas Reardon, that shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. I’ll have more updates from the press conference at 4 on @SpectrumNews1OH https://t.co/8r2xtL7Zvs— Jamilah Muhammad - Spectrum News 1 OH (@jmuhammadtv) April 21, 2021
Officials say that Officer Reardon, who has been a Columbus police officer since December 2019, has been placed on leave while the incident is investigated.
Of course, opinions on Reardon's actions that day are mixed.
Officer Nicholas Reardon shot and killed Ma’Khia Bryant. She was 16 and she only had a knife and was shot 4 times. There’s a lot of people focusing on “what if’s”. The other girls are safe. But Ma’Khia is dead. You cannot justify that.— Destiny Brown (@destinybr0wn) April 22, 2021
Many have slammed him for shooting a sixteen-year-old girl, and have said that it is yet another example of systematic racism.
Students from the Ohio State University even took over their student's union...
Ohio State students take over student union to demand OSU cut ties with Columbus Police after the killing of Ma'Khia Bryant, then march to the statehouse. https://t.co/Onts8rLJFW— Julie Polter (@JuliePolter) April 22, 2021
Chanting Ma'Khia's name in the call for justice.
Yet on the other hand, others have applauded Officer Reardon for saving the life of the young girl at risk of being stabbed...
@ColumbusPolice Officer Nicholas Reardon is a hero.— SophiaPv8 (@AfcnViolet) April 21, 2021
He saved a young girl from a knife attack.
Thank you Officer Reardon.
With some even hailing him as a hero.
And as for the police department's thoughts on Officer Reardon's actions?
Well, it turns out that they're 100 percent backing their officer.
When the department's interim police chief, Michael Woods, was asked why Ma'Khia had not been shot in a less lethal area, like the leg, he defended Reardon's actions.
"One of the difficult things with that is we don't train to shoot the leg because that's a small target. We train to shoot center mass to what is available to stop that threat," Chief Woods explained, as per The Independent.
He went on to detail that, because of the threat Ma'Khai was posing, the officer was forced to shoot "the largest part of a body that is available."
"There was a threat going on, a deadly force threat that was going on, so the officer was trained to shoot center mass – the largest part of a body that is available to them."
"When you try and start shooting legs or arms, rounds miss and they continue on and there are people behind that who could be in danger that are not committing anything, so we try to minimize danger to anyone else if we have to use our firearm."
HAPPENING NOW - 4/12/21 - 2pm— Columbus Ohio Police (@ColumbusPolice) April 21, 2021
An update on the police-involved shooting on April 20, 2021.https://t.co/pHFDZHJOpl
He added that the force's firearms training dictates that an officer fires until the threat is over and that the use of force is authorized if the safety of the officer or a third person is in jeopardy.
You can watch the full briefing here.
The investigation continues.