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Protest heats up after Columbus police shooting; aunt says teen girl was killed

April 20, 2021 Updated Tue., April 20, 2021 at 9:13 p.m.

Hazel Washington is embraced after addressing a crowd with her anger at the Columbus Police at the shooting of her niece following a fatal police shooting on Tuesday near Legion Lane on the east side of Columbus, Ohio.   (Brooke LaValley/Columbus Dispatch)
Hazel Washington is embraced after addressing a crowd with her anger at the Columbus Police at the shooting of her niece following a fatal police shooting on Tuesday near Legion Lane on the east side of Columbus, Ohio.  (Brooke LaValley/Columbus Dispatch)
By Mark Ferenchik Columbus Dispatch

COLUMBUS, Ohio – An angry crowd protested near a home on the Southeast Side where a Columbus police officer fatally shot someone while responding to an attempted stabbing call.

The shooting happened just minutes before a guilty verdict was announced in the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation was on the scene Tuesday night to investigate a fatal shooting by a Columbus police officer.

Police received a 911 call at 4:35 p.m. about an attempted stabbing on the 3100 block of Legion Lane, which is located north of Chatterton Road on Columbus’ Southeast Side. The caller reported a female was trying to stab them, then the caller hung up.

Officers responded to the scene and at 4:45 p.m. an officer-involved shooting was reported.

Columbus fire medics were cleared to come into the scene at 4:46 p.m., police said. The wounded person was transported in critical condition to Mount Carmel East hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 5:21 p.m., police said.

No one else was injured, Columbus police dispatch said.

Police have provided no information about the person shot or the circumstances of the shooting.

Hazel Bryant told the Dispatch she is the aunt of the 15-year-old girl who was shot. The girl lived in a foster home on Legion Lane and got into an altercation with someone else at the home, she said.

Bryant said her niece had a knife, but maintained the girl dropped the knife before she was shot multiple times by an officer.

Protesters with Black Lives Matter signs, megaphones and a loudspeaker joined the crowd gathered behind crime scene tape about a half-block away from the shooting scene. About 50 people had gathered by 8:30 p.m.

“We don’t get to celebrate nothing,” K.C. Taynor said through a megaphone of the Chauvin verdict. “… In the end, you know what, you can’t be Black.”

Kiara Yakita, founder of the Black Liberation Movement Central Ohio, said she is not surprised another police shooting happened. “Why did they kill this baby?” she asked.

Mike Fair, 63, of the East Side, brought an amplifier and a microphone to the scene, and expressed his anger, suggesting “there should be an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

We’re not going to sit here and just sit around while you kill us, then go back in the suburbs,” one protester said.

“Over and over, keep killing us,” another protester said.

Hana Abdur-Rahim, with the Black Abolitionists Collective, said, “We are in a literal genocide. We are fighting for our lives.”

During a council committee hearing Tuesday evening that allowed members to meet nominees for a new police civilian review board to investigate officers’ uses of force, Council president Shannon Hardin announced that there had been another police shooting.

“We don’t know very much as it stands, and as we watched the verdict from Minneapolis many talked about the sigh of relief – but there is a truth that for so many in our community there is no relief. This is not all right, it’s not OK, and it can’t continue on.

“We’re going to need to have the utmost transparency as we go through and learn more (about the latest incident). But the truth is that nothing that we will do will bring this young baby girl back. Nothing will stop the family from grieving.”

Hardin told the panel members being interviewed that the latest shooting shows why the city needs a civilian review board, “and we need to fundamentally rethink safety in our city.”

“It certainly does put in stark view what you have been called to do in our community, each and every one of you: to provide oversight, accountability and transparency when it comes to policing in our community,” he said.

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