Ma’Khia Bryant’s death puts spotlight on frequency of police shootings in Columbus, Ohio

Dozens of fatal police shootings have occurred in Ohio's capital of Columbus since 2015

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In the aftermath of the police killing of Ma’Khia Bryant‘s, more attention is being paid to the city where it took place: Columbus, Ohio.

The city has a troubled history of police violence and the latest incident has prompted scrutiny about use of force by law enforcement.

Bryant was killed on Tuesday after police responded to a 911 call regarding an attack. Her family says Bryant herself placed the request for law enforcement.

This undated selfie photo provided by family members Don Bryant and Paula Bryant shows Ma’Khia Bryant and her mother Paula. (Ma’Khia Bryant/Don Bryant and Paula Bryant via AP)

When police arrived, an officer shot Bryant as she appears to be lunging at another woman with a knife. The incident was captured by a bodycam for Nicholas Reardon, who pulled the trigger. Bryant’s death occurred the same day that Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was convicted for killing George Floyd. It’s now the latest in a string of police-related shootings in Columbus over the years.

READ MORE: Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, is fatally shot by Columbus police officer

In December, Andre Maurice Hill, a 47-year-old Black man, was killed by Columbus police, theGrio reports. Officers were responded to a noise complaint about a car in a garage being turned on and off. Hill had come out of a garage to approach the officers when he was fatally shot. Adam Coy, the ex-officer who pulled the trigger, claims he thought Hill was holding a weapon in his hand. That alleged weapon turned out to be a cell phone.

Coy was later fired and charged with murder.

Dozens of people have been fatally shot in Ohio’s capital city by law enforcement since 2015. At the time, Coy was the 32nd person killed by police in Columbus. Of those incidents, 27 died at the hands of the Columbus Division of Police, according to WCMH-TV.

Andre Hill

Another incident includes the killing of Tyre King, a 13-year-old, in September 2016. The teenager was shot by Columbus police after reports of an armed robbery, CNN reports. Police pursued King and shot him several times after seeing what looked like a weapon. It turned out to be a BB gun. King died at the hospital.

In Franklin County, which includes the city of Columbus, Bryant’s death is just one in nearly 40 police-related shooting deaths. The county has been saturated with such events since 2015, according to The Guardian.

Between 2015 and 2020, 38 police shooting deaths took place in Franklin County, according to a report by the Ohio Alliance for innovation and population health. The report stated that Black people in Ohio were killed by police at a rate 339% higher than white people.

READ MORE: Columbus officer who fatally shot Ma’Khia Bryant identified

In December, Casey Goodson was killed by a Franklin County deputy, according to an article published in theGrio. The deputy fired several shots at Goodson as he was entering his grandmother’s home after the deputy “reported witnessing a man with a gun” during an investigation in tandem with a U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force. Goodson, who was licensed to carry a firearm, was not the fugitive they were looking for.

Casey Goodson Jr thegrio.com
Casey Goodson Jr (via Instagram)

Columbus Police Division Chief Thomas Quinlan stepped down in January following the death of Hill, as reported by NBC News. As expressed by community organizer Jasmine Ayres, it seems conditions have not improved.

“Now that we’re here and we’ve had a consistent decade of patterns and practices of ineptitude and racism, our call is for the Justice Department to investigate,” Ayres told NBC.

She has been working with the mayor’s office in efforts to create a police review board.

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