Bodycam footage from Nicholas Reardon (white sleeve in top left corner) right before he fires at Bryant
For many, the conviction of Derek Chauvin for a murder we all saw him commit was a welcome sign of hope and change in a country where each year police kill about 1,000 people - black twice as often as white - but are almost never charged with a crime. "My brother got justice," noted George Floyd's sister LaTonya of the repeat offender she watched "get handcuffed in court behind his back, just like he did my brother," "and that's very rare." In more good news, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the DOJ will investigate "systemic failures" in the Minneapolis police department, hopefully starting with their scumbag police report on George Floyd - "Man dies after medical incident during police interaction" - claiming the "suspect physically resisted officers, who were able to get the suspect into handcuffs," when he "appeared to be suffering medical distress." On Tuesday, minutes before a jury found the source of that "distress" guilty of murdering George Floyd by choking him to death, a white cop in Columbus, Ohio shot and killed Ma'Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old black girl who was outside threatening another girl with a kitchen knife. Police were responding to a 911 call from a nearby foster home where Bryant lived - she may have been the caller - about an attempted stabbing. Within seconds of arriving at the chaotic scene, bodycam footage shows, a cop fires four shots and Bryant falls to the ground as a man in the background yells, "She's a fucking kid, man!" Several neighbors said they heard about the shooting moments after hearing of the Chauvin verdict. "We don't get to celebrate nothing," said one bitterly. "In the end, you know what, you can't be black."
That evening, interim Columbus Police Chief Michael Woods held a press conference about "a police-involved shooting" - cop-ese for killing someone - and played a brief bodycam video; Wednesday he released more footage and the 911 tapes, and named officer Nicholas Reardon as the shooter. Online, video also surfaced of upset residents at the scene as one officer shouts, "Blue lives matter!" Hazel Bryant, Ma'Khia's aunt, told the press her niece called police when older girls were threatening her; she said Ma'Khia was "a good kid" who “didn’t deserve to die like a dog on the street.” "She was a child," said White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who acknowledged communities of color "hurting and grieving her loss" - perhaps more keenly in a county with one of the country's highest rates of fatal police shootings, in a state where police kill 339% more black people than white, in a city where black kids are six times more likely to be shot by ineptly trigger-happy police who seem unaware of de-escalation techniques, never mind a taser like the one you can see on Reardon's belt - suggesting that if cops intent on killing black people on sight can't even disarm a 16-year-old girl with a knife without killing her, maybe they're in the wrong job. As always, notes human rights attorney Qasim Rashid, the racial disparities shout out to us. "If cops could spend HOURS to subdue & arrest Rittenhouse after he murdered 2, Long after he murdered 8, Roof after he murdered 9 (and got Burger King), Holmes after he murdered 12, & Cruz after he murdered 17, (they) could've spent more than 10 seconds to subdue Ma'Khia Bryant," he writes. "Bryant killed no one & got 4 bullets to her chest. That's not justice—it's white supremacy."