From the New York Times news section:
The use of deadly force in Ohio happened just before the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd.
By Neil Vigdor and Bryan Pietsch
April 20, 2021
A teenage girl was fatally shot by the police in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday afternoon, officials said, shortly before a jury reached a guilty verdict in the murder trial of the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in last year’s killing of George Floyd.
The girl’s death cast an immediate pall over public expressions that justice had been served in Mr. Floyd’s case and touched off protests in Ohio’s capital city.
The Columbus Division of Police did not immediately provide details about the shooting, which was confirmed on Twitter by the city’s mayor, Andrew Ginther, who said there was police body camera footage of the confrontation and urged residents to keep the peace as protesters descended on the scene. …
Note that the NYT didn’t have the body camera footage when they posted this article. I do, and I analyze it below.
My brief impression was that Mayor Ginther handled it pretty well, unlike many other politicians recently, emphasizing keep calm and wait for the facts. He didn’t throw the cop under the bus or start apologizing to the mob
This afternoon a young woman tragically lost her life. We do not know all of the details. There is body-worn camera footage of the incident. We are working to review it as soon as possible. BCI is on the scene conducting an independent investigation . . .— Mayor Andrew Ginther (@MayorGinther) April 20, 2021
But check out the responses to the Mayor’s level-headedness:
The Columbus Dispatch reported that police had been responding to a 911 call about an attempted stabbing when the shooting took place around 4:45 p.m. in the southeastern part of Columbus. The verdict in the Chauvin case was announced about 20 minutes later.
A woman interviewed by The Dispatch identified the victim, who was Black, as her 15-year-old niece. The woman, Hazel Bryant, told the newspaper that her niece lived in a foster home and got into an altercation with someone else at the home.
Ms. Bryant said her niece had a knife, but maintained that the girl had dropped the knife before she was shot multiple times by a police officer, the newspaper reported.
… A crowd of protesters gathered outside the city’s police building, local news media reported.
The teenager’s death quickly received widespread attention, including from Ben Crump, the Floyd family’s lawyer, amid a continuing reckoning over police accountability and systemic racism.
“As we breathed a collective sigh of relief today, a community in Columbus felt the sting of another police shooting as @ColumbusPolice killed an unarmed 15yo Black girl,” Mr. Crump said. “Another child lost! Another hashtag.”
With Ben Crump on the case, you know you are getting the straight story.
The Columbus police have released the shooting cop’s body camera video. It all happens extremely fast as the cop is getting out of his cruiser. To evaluate the challenge facing the cop, watch it first in normal speed from 6:38 and try to figure out what is happening in the chaos.
Watching the video in in regular speed, I thought it must have been a bad shoot by the cop.
But I was completely baffled by what was going on. For example, knife-girl first knocks down a light-skinned black girl, at which point a black man in a grey hoodie and blue jeans comes over and kicks her while she’s down. What the hell is that about?
If I’d been in that patrol car, I would have backed up away down the street and called for a helicopter to come drop a huge net over everybody on the sidewalk so we could take our time sorting out who was doing what.
But then watch it again from when at 8:42 they play it in slo-mo.
First the teen girl with a knife (black top and blue jeans) knocks another girl down, and then charges the girl in pink. You can see the attempted murderer’s big knife clearly at 9:56 in the video as she draws it back to impale (or perhaps slash the throat of) the girl in pink, at which point the cop kills the attacker, saving the girl in pink:
Watching it once in super slo-mo, however, it looked instead like a good shoot.
Watching it several times in super slo-mo, it looks like a great shoot that stopped a likely murder with maybe 0.3 seconds to spare before the big knife plunged home, like a scene in a 1950s Western TV show in which the sheriff shoots the bandit just as the bad guy attempts to kill the schoolmarm.
Note that the cop didn’t hit the would-be victim in pink nor anybody else standing around, just the stabber.
Will the headline tomorrow morning be “White Hero Cop Saves Black Girl’s Life”?
Of course, Joe Biden would have done it even better. Last June Biden advised:
“There is the idea that instead of standing there and teaching an agent when an unarmed person comes at him with a knife or something, shoot him in the leg instead of the heart.”
Joe Biden says he wants cops who have someone running at them with a knife to “shoot them in the leg.” pic.twitter.com/uhtj8gQa6l— Adam Shaw (@AdamShawNY) June 1, 2020
I’ve been impressed watching all these police shooting videos in recent years by how seldom police hit bystanders. They seem to pour a lot of bullets into the central body mass of the person they are aiming for with few missed shots careening around the neighborhood.
I’m wondering if increased cop accuracy over the decades spurs complaints about too much deadly force. Maybe in 1970 if cops fired 3 times, they often tended to miss completely twice and hit the bad guy in the shoulder once, which everybody agreed was fair. Now they fire three times, but twice into the heart and once into the liver.
Update: This bodycam video isn’t changing the minds of all the professional white-haters. For example, Bree Newsome, who is apparently a Somebody on the Internet, argues that it was racist for the police to save the black girl in pink:
The knife girl was attempting to murder two black girls, the one she first knocked to the ground, but then left after the shooter cop stepped in, and the girl in pink:
If the cops had stood around around while she stabbed them like you recommend, you’d still be talking about racism and dehumanization of Black girls, just with much more innocent victims to blame on whites.
But back then they had better taste in music.