White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant by Columbus police on Tuesday as being a “tragic” situation because she was just a “child” when asked about the incident during Wednesday’s press briefing.
“We’re thinking of her friends and family and the communities that are hurting and grieving her loss. We know that police violence disproportionately impacts black and Latino people in 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 faced and her death came, as you noted, just as America was hopeful of a step forward after the traumatic and exhausting trial of Derek Chauvin and the verdict that was reached. So our focus is on working to address systemic racism, and implicit explicit 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,” Psaki said, noting President Joe Biden has been briefed on the situation.
What Psaki left out during the White House’s critical view of the shooting was the officer who responded to the call shot Bryant when she was about to stab another black girl with a knife. Prior to the shooting, the officer can be heard on the body camera footage, which was released late Tuesday night, telling everyone to get on the ground.
“We know based on this footage, the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther.
Bryant’s death sparked BLM protests in Columbus near the scene of the shooting and in the downtown area. The officer who shot Bryant is on administrative leave and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is looking into the matter.