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'She was a child' - White House responds to 'tragic' police shooting of 16-year-old in Ohio

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says President Joe Biden has been briefed on the fatal police shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant, a Black teenager seen on video charging at two people with a knife in Ohio.

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Police had been called to reports of a person armed with a knife in Columbus. Source: Breakfast

Psaki said the killing was "tragic, she was a child".

"We're thinking of her friends and family an the communities that are hurting and grieving her loss. We know that police violence disproportionately impacts Black and Latino people and communities and that Black women and girls like Black men and boys experience higher rates of police violence."

The shooting happened within minutes of the verdict in George Floyd’s killing, causing outrage by some over the continued use of lethal force by Columbus police.

Officials with the Columbus Division of Police released footage of the shooting, just hours after it happened, a departure from protocol as the force faces immense scrutiny from the public following a series of recent high-profile police killings that have led to clashes.

The girl was identified by Franklin County Children Services, which said in a release that the 16-year-old Bryant was under the care of the agency at the time of her death.

The 10-second clip begins with the officer getting out of his car at a house where police had been dispatched after someone called 911 saying they were being physically threatened, Interim Police Chief Michael Woods said at the news conference.

Still image from Columbus police bodycam showing girl holding what appears to be a knife while fighting another girl. Source: Columbus Police

The officer takes a few steps toward a group of people in the driveway when Bryant starts swinging a knife wildly at another girl or woman, who falls backward. The officer shouts several times to get down.

Bryant then charges at another girl or woman, who is pinned against a car.

From a few feet away, with people on either side of him, the officer fires four shots, and Bryant slumps to the ground. A black-handled blade similar to a kitchen knife or steak knife lies on the sidewalk next to her.

A man immediately yells at the officer: “You didn’t have to shoot her! She’s just a kid, man!”

The officer responds: “She had a knife. She just went at her.”

The race of the officer wasn't clear and he was taken off patrolling the streets for the time being.

"Our focus is on working to address systemic racism and implicit implicit bias head on," said Psaki.

"And, of course, to passing laws and legislation that will put much needed reforms into place at police departments around the country."