Donavon Brinson, who is neighbor to Ma’Khia Bryant’s foster home, said the police officer who shot and killed Bryant on Tuesday probably could not have done anything differently.
Brinson heard the girls fighting across the street, heard the shots, and reviewed the entire incident caught on his security camera. Brinson said he believes that had the officer not acted as he did, more people may have died, Brinson told The Columbus Dispatch.
“He immediately thought about his security camera on his garage. He watched the footage. He saw the fight, saw the glint of the knife,” the Dispatch reported. “And while what happened is tragic, Brinson said, it all happened so fast that he didn’t see how the officer could have time to have done anything else.”
“He referenced the girl seen in both police body-camera footage and on his own camera footage who was wearing pink who was the second female engaged with Bryant in the scuffle. Brinson said he really thinks more people might have died had police not taken action,” the outlet continued.
“It was violent and all just happened so fast,” Brinson said.
Bryant, 16, died Tuesday after a police officer shot her as she lunged with a knife at another girl. As The Daily Wire reported:
According to WBNS-TV, officers in Columbus, Ohio received a 911 call from a distressed individual saying multiple women were attempting to stab her. Bodycam footage from the incident showed officers arriving to find Bryant wielding a knife at two girls, at which point the responding officer stepped in and fired his service weapon as she appeared to be attempting to stab one of the victims.
“She came at her with a knife,” an officer can be heard saying in the video.
Bryant was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition, where she was later pronounced dead.
Bryant’s death sparked protests and calls for accountability in Columbus as Black Lives Matter activists and others connected Bryant’s death with alleged systemic racism in policing. Experts have said the officer had no other clear option, however.
“My first impression is that the officer was legally justified in using deadly force,” Philip Stinson, a criminal-justice professor at Bowling Green State University, told the Dispatch.
“It’s a terribly tragic situation, and my heart goes out to the girl and her family and friends,” he said. “But from looking at the video, it appears to me that a reasonable police officer would have had a reasonable apprehension of an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death being imposed against an officer or someone else. That’s the legal standard.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Bryant’s death was “tragic” and Bryant was “just a child.”
“The killing of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant by Columbus police is tragic. She was a child. We are thinking of her friends and family and the communities that are grieving her loss,” Psaki said Wednesday.
“We know that police violence disproportionately impacts Black and Latino communities and that Black women and girls, like Black men and boys, experience higher rates of police violence. We also know that there are particular vulnerabilities that children in foster care like Ma’Khia face,” she continued. “Our focus is on working to address systemic racism and implicit bias head-on and of course to passing laws and legislation that will put much-needed reforms into place at police departments around the country.”