The death of Ma'Khia Bryant has sparked global outrage and now, people are being faced with the harsh reality that she was just a child via her TikTok account.
Have a look for yourselves...
Warning: This article contains details that some people may find upsetting.
Now, the incident unfolded on April 20th in Columbus, Ohio.
At around 4pm, police officers responded to an emergency call over an attempted stabbing.
Upon their arrival, they found a sixteen-year-old girl, who has since been identified as Ma'Khia Bryant, attempting to stab another girl.
After attempting to diffuse the situation, one of the officers opened fire and, despite CPR being performed, Ma'Khia was killed.
Bodycam footage provided by the police shows an altercation with a group of individuals outside a house...
Before one of them - said to be Ma'Khia Bryant - appeared to lunge at another member of the group with a knife in hand.
Then, a police officer approached the group in the driveway and shouted "get down" before firing several shots, fatally injuring the girl.
The officer can be heard saying in the footage, "She had a knife, she just went at her."
A bystander, however, shouted that she was just a child.
Ma'Khia's aunt, Hazel Bryant, told reporters that her niece had got into a disagreement with another girl at the foster home in which she resided.
She later said the teen called the police, her father, and grandmother for help, and grabbed a knife to protect herself.
"She was a good kid. She was loving," Hazel Bryant said.
"Yeah, she had issues but that's OK. All of us go through sh*t... She didn't deserve to die like a dog in the street."
As soon as the news of Ma'Khai's death broke, Ohio's Bureau of Criminal Investigation launched an investigation into the events that took place.
Mayor Andrew Ginther on Tuesday told reporters that information will be released as quickly as possible before adding that, as a father, he was grieved by what happened.
"The city of Columbus lost a sixteen-year-old girl today. We know based on this footage the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community," he said.
Three white officers say, "blue lives matter" to a group of black residents at the scene where police shot and killed a 15-year-old girl. pic.twitter.com/TGkejEiaho— scott keeler (@_WhatRiot) April 21, 2021
"But a family is grieving tonight. And this young sixteen-year-old girl will never be coming home."
Protesters quickly gathered at the scene...
Just moments after #DerekChauvin was given a guilty verdict, protestors have gathered in SE Columbus after a police involved shooting took place involving a teen fatality. I’ll be bringing you more updates so stick with @SpectrumNews1OH. pic.twitter.com/EPmDurfWEP— Jamilah Muhammad - Spectrum News 1 OH (@jmuhammadtv) April 20, 2021
Many holding signs saying: "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH."
"It is absolutely devastating that I am driving home from an appointment in elation, honking my horn in jubilation, filled with hope in thinking there's maybe a turn that the nation deserves, and then simultaneously all of those feelings of positivity brought down to devastation in the blink of an eye is devastating," Thomas-St. Clair said.
Ma'Khia's mom quickly spoke out about her daughter's death.
I can’t stop crying as I think about Paula Bryant grieving the murder of her daughter Ma’Khia at the hands of the @ColumbusPolice she called seeking help. She did what y’all tell us to do. And she paid with her life. #NoJusticeNoPeace— Nancy Kirkpatrick (@nancyskirkpat) April 21, 2021
"I'm very upset, I'm hurt. I want answers," Paula Bryant said.
"My daughter dispatched Columbus police for protection — not to be a homicide today."
Paula Bryant tells me her 16 year-old daughter Ma’Khia Bryant was an honor roll student and a sweet child. Ma’Khia was shot and killed by a @ColumbusPolice on Legion Lane at 4:30p today. pic.twitter.com/0FfbQVEgSD— Lacey Crisp (@LaceyCrisp) April 21, 2021
She said her daughter had been staying in a foster home and Thursday was the last day she saw her.
The officer who fired the fatal shot has now been identified as Officer Nicholas Reardon.
The Columbus Division of Police have confirmed that it was officer Nicholas Reardon, that shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. I’ll have more updates from the press conference at 4 on @SpectrumNews1OH https://t.co/8r2xtL7Zvs— Jamilah Muhammad - Spectrum News 1 OH (@jmuhammadtv) April 21, 2021
Officials say that Officer Reardon, who has been a Columbus police officer since December 2019, has been placed on leave while the incident is investigated.
Of course, opinions on Reardon's actions that day are mixed.
Officer Nicholas Reardon shot and killed Ma’Khia Bryant. She was 16 and she only had a knife and was shot 4 times. There’s a lot of people focusing on “what if’s”. The other girls are safe. But Ma’Khia is dead. You cannot justify that.— Destiny Brown (@destinybr0wn) April 22, 2021
Many have slammed him for shooting a sixteen-year-old girl, and have said that it is yet another example of systematic racism.
Students from the Ohio State University even took over their student's union...
Ohio State students take over student union to demand OSU cut ties with Columbus Police after the killing of Ma'Khia Bryant, then march to the statehouse. https://t.co/Onts8rLJFW— Julie Polter (@JuliePolter) April 22, 2021
Chanting Ma'Khia's name in the call for justice.
Yet on the other hand, others have applauded Officer Reardon for saving the life of the young girl at risk of being stabbed...
@ColumbusPolice Officer Nicholas Reardon is a hero.— SophiaPv8 (@AfcnViolet) April 21, 2021
He saved a young girl from a knife attack.
Thank you Officer Reardon.
With some even hailing him as a hero.
One of Ma'Khia's neighbors defended the officer's decision to shoot the teenager.
"They were calling each other the B-word, so I figured it was just a girl fight," Donovan Brinson, who pulled up into his driveway as the fight unfolded, told the Columbus Dispatch.
He said the yelling escalated moments later when he took his dog out back, so he went back into his home.
Although he didn't witness the shooting first-hand, after hearing the shots he watched the footage caught on his surveillance camera affixed to the garage.
"It was violent and all just happened so fast," he told the Dispatch, citing a girl dressed in pink who was the second female involved in the altercation with Ma'Khia.
Donovan, who turned his video over to police, said he believed that had police not taken immediate action, more people could have been killed.
Another neighbor, Ira Graham III, a photographer and videographer who was working at home, said he heard the gunshots Tuesday afternoon.
"I believe in truth and facts. Video doesn't lie," he said, "She was in full attack mode. The girl was literally aiming a knife at this young lady... She needed to be stopped at that point. That young lady's life was at stake."
Despite all the opinions going around about this controversial case, there's one thing we're all constantly reminded of...
& my heart rips again. Ma'Khia Bryant was a child. A child. A child.— Amanda Gorman (@TheAmandaGorman) April 21, 2021
And it's the fact that Ma'Khia was only a child when she was killed.
Many people are stumbling over her TikTok account where she would post hair and make-up tutorials like any other normal kid.
Watching these tiktok videos of Ma’khia Bryant is so heart wrenching. She reminds me soooo much of my teenage nieces. I can’t.— somebodys mama (@Dulcinea_Detwah) April 21, 2021
Most of the content has been deleted from the account but some of the videos were reposted to Twitter where they immediately went viral.
One of Bryant's videos received 2.6 million views on Twitter in 2 days.
And it has also been retweeted over 31,000 times.
While some conservatives have been justifying the killing because Ma'Khia knife in her hands, it doesn't change the fact that police have been faced with more challenging scenarios.
Take Dylan Roof or Kyle Rittenhouse, for example. Both white boys were armed with assault rifles and had just completed a murder spree when they were calmly restrained and arrested.
So what's the difference here?
Again, another Black child has fallen victim to the system that continues to uphold harmful stereotypes. Police officers clearly have the ability to withhold their gunfire or shoot once as a warning shot before actually aiming for someone, as proved by Roof, and Rittenhouse, but why are they more likely to shoot when the "perpetrator" is Black?
Here are some statistics to back up that claim:
According to the Washington Post police shootings database, although African-Americans make up less than 14% of the population, they accounted for almost 24% of over 6,000 fatal shootings by the police since 2015.
Further research shows the rate that police fatally shoot unarmed Black people in the US is more than 3 times as high as it is for white people.
So these claims aren't baseless as there's enough evidence to suggest that police officers have more restraint when it comes to arresting white folks compared to Black.
Rest in Peace, Ma'Khia.
This is a developing story and updates will be posted accordingly.