Police told local media that officials were sent to the address at 4:32 p.m. after a caller reported that a woman tried to stab someone else. The videotape shows Bryant moving towards the other woman with the knife before he is shot by the officer.
Various media outlets, including NPR, published misleading reports of the shooting that fueled anger in the city. NPR later corrected its original account:
The Daily Beast has been criticized for its coverage, including a quote from “Exodus Nation local Columbus activist KC Taynor” that “the recent police murder made it impossible to celebrate the chauvinist ruling. It’s another murder. They are animals. They treat us like animals. “
Here is a video of the footage from The Body Cam at 6:35 a.m.
The knife is next to Bryant.
At first glance, the videotape would provide strong support for a legitimate shooting claim.
The Columbus Police Handbook states: “Sworn personnel may use lethal force if the personnel concerned have reason to believe that the response is objectively appropriate to protect themselves or others from the imminent threat of death or serious injury This language derives from Tennessee v Garner, 471 US 1 (1985), when the court was looking into protecting the fourth amendment that granted a fugitive suspect and ruling that an officer must not use lethal force to do so prevent escape unless “the officer has a probable reason to believe that the suspect poses a serious risk of death or serious injury to the officer or others. “
Tennessee v. Garner approached a fleeing unarmed suspect and found the state statute too broad:
The use of lethal force to prevent the escape of all suspects at all costs is constitutionally inappropriate. It is no better for all the suspects to die than for them to flee. If the suspect does not pose an imminent threat to the officer or to others, the harm caused by not being arrested does not warrant the use of lethal force. It is undoubtedly unfortunate when a suspect in sight escapes, but the fact that the police arrive a little late or are a little slower doesn’t always justify killing the suspect. A police officer must not take hold of an unarmed, harmless suspect by shooting him or her. The Tennessee Statute is unconstitutional in that it allows the use of lethal force against such escaping suspects.
In Graham v Connor, the court ruled that whether an officer had used excessive force “requires careful consideration of the facts and circumstances of the individual case, including the gravity of the crime in question, to determine whether the suspect is an imminent threat the safety of officials or others, and whether he actively opposes arrest or tries to escape arrest. However, the Court unanimously ruled that the “appropriateness of any particular use of force must be assessed from the point of view of a reasonable officer on the ground, and that his calculation must take into account the fact that police officers are often forced to divide. second decisions about the amount of force required in a given situation. “(The ABA discussed these and other cases in a recent post.)
In this case, Bryant was in close proximity, moving the knife toward the other person. This was a direct threat of fatal violence against another person and the officer can claim that there was little time or space for “de-escalation efforts”. It will likely be found that shooting is warranted under the applicable standards for the use of lethal force.