A police officer told a crowd gathered at the scene where a Black teenage girl was killed by police in Ohio that “blue lives matter”, just moments after the verdict in the George Floyd murder trial was reached.
At a news conference on Tuesday, the Columbus Police Department released body camera footage which showed the moment 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was killed.
They said officers were responding to a 911 call in which a member of the public reported a female suspect was trying to stab them and then hung up. Bodycam footage released by police shows a woman lunging towards two women with a knife. A police officer then fires at her, and she collapses to the ground.
Ma’Khia was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said.
Andrew Ginther, Columbus mayor, said at the conference: “We know based on this footage the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community.”
A crowd gathered at the scene where the girl was shot, and police officers there told the group that “blue lives matter”, according to Raw Story.
The Telegraph said a group of people gathered shortly after the shooting started shouting “no racist police” and "enough is enough”. A video showed one of the officers yelling back “blue lives matter”.
The shooting occurred just 20 minutes before former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering Floyd.
Ben Crump, the lawyer representing the Floyd family, tweeted that “as we breathed a collective sigh of relief today, a community in Columbus felt the sting of another police shooting”.
“Another child lost! Another hashtag,” he added.
Protesters also gathered at the city’s police headquarters, shouting “say her name!” and “she was just a kid”. Officers pushed them back and threatened to deploy pepper spray on the crowd, according to the Associated Press.
Paula Bryant told local 10TV that her daughter was shot dead in the incident on Tuesday afternoon.
Neighbour Ira Graham III told The Washington Post that one police officer on the scene was wearing a “blue lives matter” face mask. “We know police lives matter, because you know why? When police are killed, the person is brought in and justice is served,” Mr Graham said.