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Ma'Khia Bryant's family remembers her: 'An all-around good person'

The family of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, a Black girl fatally shot by a Columbus police officer Tuesday, reflected on her life on Thursday, stating that Bryant was “an all-around good person” in an interview with The Washington Post.

Don Bryant, a cousin of Ma’Khia Bryant’s mother, reflected on the relationship between Ma’Khia Bryant and her mother, saying they had a “close bond.” 

“Ma’Khia was just an all-around good person,” Don Bryant added.

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“She laughed a lot,” Ma’Khia Bryant’s great-grandmother Ila Bryant said, adding that she excelled in school.

“Intellectually, she was very intelligent,” she said, according to the Post.

Body camera footage released Tuesday showed an officer, identified as Columbus police officer Nicholas Reardon, approaching an altercation that involved Ma’Khia Bryant. Soon after he asked what was going on, the officer took out his handgun and fired off four shots when Bryant appears to lunge at another girl. 

The officer said that Bryant had a knife in her hand. 

In addition to remembering the life of Bryant, the family has also struggled to understand the killing, which has been at least the third fatal shooting by Columbus police this year, according to the Post.

“She didn’t even have a chance to live her life or make decisions,” Ila Bryant said. 

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“Justice was not done,” she added.

Don Bryant said, according to the Post, that it has been difficult to identify the teenager in the police video who is seen lunging at another girl.

Bryant said he doesn’t “condone any violence,” but also argued that the officer was wrong to fire his gun.

“There are other disengagement techniques that police could have used here,” said Bryant, who has served on the Mansfield, Ohio, city council, according to the Post.

“I’m a supporter of police, as former city councilor. I understood their moves, their tactics, what they do. I just don’t understand what happened here,” he added.

In the body camera footage, an officer can be heard saying "She had a knife. She just went at her,” to which a witness yelled back "She's a f---ing kid, man.”