Ohio police released more body-camera video on Wednesday showing an officer’s point of view as he pulled his weapon, opened fire and killed a 16-year-old girl after responding to a 911 call in Columbus.
The body-worn camera of Columbus Police Officer Nick Reardon showed how he arrived at a reported disturbance late Tuesday afternoon.
Reardon drew his weapon as the altercation unfolded, body camera video showed.
Police said previously that the video shows someone trying to stab one person on the ground as well as a second person.
During the altercation, a person wearing a black T-shirt is seen with an object in her right hand that she raises toward a second person before Reardon fires.
Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, has been identified as the girl police shot and killed.
Police picked up what appeared to be a knife near the girl’s body, and an officer could be heard on camera saying, “She had a knife, she just went at her.”
A representative for the union representing Columbus police could not be immediately reached for comment on Wednesday afternoon.
Bryant was in the foster care system, Franklin County Children Services confirmed Tuesday night.
“It’s a tragedy, there’s no other way to say it,” Interim Police Chief Michael Woods told reporters Wednesday. “It’s a 16-year-old girl.”
The case is being handled by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and Columbus authorities said they’ll be limited in their comments about the shooting. But Woods said department policy allows officers to shoot if it’s believed someone’s life is in danger.
“I cannot respond specifically to this specific incident,” Woods said. “But what I can say is that when officers are faced with someone employing deadly force, deadly force can be the response the officer gives.”
Don Bryant, a cousin of Bryant’s mother, said police had more options than to open fire.
“I know there are de-escalation tactics that could have been used. You killed a teenage girl, that could have been avoided,” he told NBC News.
“I’m seriously asking the Columbus Police Department what’s going on. I’m a supporter of our police, but what’s going on here? What’s going on that we have to be so trigger happy these days? And here’s what I don’t want … is this whole Blue Lives versus Black Lives Matter issue. Listen here, there’s been a loss of life, bottom line, and you have a grieving mother who is just heartbroken.”
Department of Public Safety Director Ned Pettus Jr. said at a press conference Wednesday that footage of the encounter raises questions.
“The video shows that there is more to this. It requires us to pause, to take a close look at the sequence of events and though it’s not easy, wait for the facts as determined by an independent investigation,” Pettus said.
“We have to ask ourselves, what information did the officer have? What did he see? How much time did he have to assess the situation? And what would have happened had he taken no action at all?”
It was not clear if the officer gave any warning or instructions before Bryant was gunned down. Woods said the officer would not have been required to give warning.
“We try, but it is not a policy requirement that you yell your intent to fire your weapon,” Woods said. “If there is time and opportunity, yes, we try and include that. But it is not a requirement if that time and opportunity is not there.”
Police also released two 911 calls for the disturbance, though it wasn’t clear who made the calls, or if Bryant was a caller.
The girl’s aunt, Hazel Bryant, said the 16-year-old was acting in self-defense.
“My niece was defending herself,” the aunt told NBC News. “Those were grown, adult women. It looked like that was a child, that was not no child. Those were women attacking my niece and she was defending herself. I’m angry right now.”
The first 911 call was made at 4:32 p.m. and officers were not dispatched until 4:35. Woods said he didn’t know why it took three minutes to send police or if might have been a reasonable delay.
“So what cars are available? They rate those in priority,” Woods said. ” Once a car is available they get dispatched.”
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine pleaded for the public’s patience.
“We all want things instantly, I certainly do,” he said. “Let an impartial body look at that, I have every confidence that that will be done in this case and that’s what we all should wait for.”
Elisha Fieldstadt contributed.