News and Commentary

George Floyd Lead Attorney Tweeted Columbus Girl Was Unarmed. NY Times Leaves That Out.
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On Tuesday, after the Columbus, Ohio, police shot and killed Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, who had threatened two other teenage girls with a knife, but before body-cam footage of the incident was revealed, high-profile attorney Benjamin Crump, who had led the legal team that represented George Floyd’s family, leaped to a conclusion, tweeting that the Columbus police had “killed an unarmed 15yo black girl named Makhia Bryant.”

In a report on the incident, The New York Times decided to sanitize Crump’s tweet, quoting him but leaving out the part of the tweet where Crump said Bryant was unarmed.

Crump tweeted in full, “As we breathed a collective sigh of relief today, a community in Columbus felt the sting of another police shooting as @ColumbusPolice killed an unarmed15yo black girl named Ma’khia Bryant. Another child lost! Another hashtag!#JusticeForMakhiaBryant.”

The Times acknowledged that official reports stated Bryant had been armed, writing:

Officials said the video showed the teenager lunging at two other females with a knife as the officer arrived at the driveway of a residence. The officer then fired several times — four shots could be heard in the video — at the girl. She collapsed to the ground next to a car that had been parked in the driveway, where the body camera footage showed a knife on the ground.

Then the Times quoted various people in the vicinity of the shooting expressing their misgivings about police, including one man who stated, “I’ve got daughters. And I’m tired of it. I feel like a polar bear with the ice caps melting. We have nowhere to run. If we protect ourselves, we go to jail. If we don’t, we die.”

The Times quoted another man who was with his daughters when they heard the shots, prompting them to call 911. He said, “How do I teach my daughters when you call for help, and you expect help to come, you could be on the other side of the gun?”

The Times then turned to Crump, deliberately leaving out his false description of Bryant being “unarmed” in quoting his tweet:

The teenager’s death quickly received widespread attention, including from Ben Crump, the Floyd family’s lawyer, amid a continuing reckoning over police accountability and systemic racism.“As we breathed a collective sigh of relief today, a community in Columbus felt the sting of another police shooting” Mr. Crump said. “Another child lost! Another hashtag.”

The Times then segued to a meeting held Tuesday night at which the president of the Columbus City Council discussed implementing a civilian review board for police accountability.

City Council president Shannon Hardin stated, “As we watched the verdict from Minneapolis many talked about a sigh of relief, but there is a truth that for so many in our community there is no relief. This is not right. It’s not OK, and it can’t continue on.”


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