Florida Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump Falsely Claims Columbus Shooting Victim Was Unarmed

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Tallahassee-based civil rights attorney Ben Crump falsely claimed on Twitter yesterday the victim of the police-involved shooting in Columbus, OH was unarmed. As bodycam footage was released, it found the victim, a 16-year-old black female, Ma’Khia Bryant, was wielding a knife and threatening two other females.

Crump, the man the Rev. Al Sharpton dubbed “Black America’s Attorney General” has been involved with major social justice cases including Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. More recently, Crump’s law firm represented the families of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd.

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Some on social media were outraged at the lethal use of force by the officer, including Crump who said on Twitter, “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 named Makiyah Bryant. Another child lost! Another hashtag. #JusticeForMakiyahBryant.”

Those outraged regarding the shooting, including Crump, pointed out the incident, involving an officer and a young black female, occurred just 25 minutes after the verdict of the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis, a case Crump was highly involved in.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther was saddened at the loss of Bryant’s life, but defended the officer’s use of force as other lives were at risk.

“We know based on this footage the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community,” said Ginther.

Social media critics quickly responded to Crump with an image of the bodycam footage showing Bryant wielding the knife.

In the footage released to the public, the officer arrived on the scene and began taking steps toward a group of people around a car when Bryant began attacking others nearby with the knife. The officer shouted several times to get down, Bryant lunged toward a woman pinned against the car, and the officer fired four shots.

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

The officer responded with, “She had a knife. She just went at her.”

Media outlets immediately began reporting on the story and claiming the victim was unarmed promoting headlines around a narrative that the shooting was based on race, and not on the officer stepping in to protect lives. The ethnicity of the officer also has yet to be announced, and NPR amended their article to include that Bryant was wielding a knife.

In the New York Times’ coverage of Crump’s tweet, they left out the part of the tweet where Crump claimed Bryant was unarmed.

The Ohio Department of Investigation is looking into the fatal incident.

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Columbus Shooting” by The Hill.

 

 

 

 

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