State investigators in Columbus, Ohio, are probing the fatal police shooting of a black teenager in a confrontation caught on body-camera video that appeared to show her holding a knife and lunging at two people.
Ma'Khia Bryant, 16, was shot on Tuesday afternoon about the same time a Minneapolis jury convicted a white former police officer of murdering George Floyd last year by kneeling on his neck.
Her shooting triggered immediate protests in Columbus, Ohio's biggest city and the state capital, just as the announcement of the guilty verdict in the Floyd case brought relief and jubilation to the Minnesota city.
Interim Police Chief Michael Woods identified the officer who shot Bryant as Nicholas Reardon, who was hired in December 2019. It appears from the video is white and that he fired four shots at Bryant.
Woods said Reardon "would be taken off the street" pending an investigation.
A spokeswoman for Franklin County Children Services said Bryant was a foster child in the agency's care.
Bryant's aunt, Hazel Bryant, told the Columbus Dispatch newspaper the teenager had become involved in an altercation with someone at her foster residence.
"She was a good kid, she was loving," the aunt told reporters on Tuesday. "She didn't deserve to die like a dog on the street."
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden had been briefed on the "tragic" shooting.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation has opened an inquiry into the incident, which began when officers responded to a report of an attempted stabbing at a home in the city's southeast.
Police quickly released Reardon's body-camera video of the incident, which shows Bryant apparently trying to stab two women.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said the city did so in the interest of transparency and more videos of the event would be released.
The video shows police arriving at a chaotic scene, with several people gathered on a front lawn. Bryant, brandishing a knife, charges toward one person who fell backwards, and then lunges at a second person.
The second victim is seen stumbling backward against a car parked in the driveway as Bryant raises the weapon as if about to stab her, and Reardon fires what sounds like four shots.
Bryant immediately collapses and the weapon, which appears to be a kitchen knife, is seen lying on the pavement near her as an officer renders medical aid.
"When officers are faced with someone employing deadly force, deadly force can be the response the officer gives," Woods told reporters on Wednesday.
"It's a tragedy, there's no other way to say it."
Australian Associated Press