US police kill black teen minutes before George Floyd verdict

Protesters gathered at the scene where police shot dead a teenage girl in Columbus, Ohio.

Protesters gathered at the scene where police shot dead a teenage girl in Columbus, Ohio. Photo: AP

Police have shot and killed a black teenage girl in Ohio just minutes before the verdict was being announced in the trial for the killing of George Floyd.

Officers in Columbus had responded to an emergency call when police shot the girl on Tuesday afternoon (local time), The Columbus Dispatch reported.

The caller reported a female was trying to stab them before hanging up, according to the Dispatch. The girl was pronounced dead in hospital. No one else was injured.

Family members have identified the girl as Makiyah Bryant, 16.

“This afternoon a young woman tragically lost her life,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther tweeted. “We do not know all of the details. There is body-worn camera footage of the incident. We are working to review it as soon as possible.”

Police arriving at the home encountered a chaotic scene of several people on the front lawn of a dwelling where the female youth, seen brandishing what appeared to be knife, was charging toward another female who fell backwards, the video showed.

A police officer then opened fire on the youth as she collapsed against a car parked in the driveway. The video then shows what appears to be a kitchen knife lying on pavement near the teenager.

A woman identified in the Dispatch account as the slain girl’s aunt, Hazel Bryant, told the newspaper the teenager lived in a foster home and became involved in an altercation with someone at the residence.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation was at the scene in Columbus on Tuesday night.

A crowd gathered at the scene on Tuesday night. Others gathered at police headquarters to protest, a week after officers pepper-sprayed a group that tried to enter the headquarters over the police killing of a man who had a gun in a hospital emergency room.

The shooting happened about 25 minutes before a judge read the verdict convicting former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin of murder and manslaughter in the killing of Mr Floyd, a black man whose death sparked protests against racism and police brutality in the US and around the world.

Shortly after the historic verdict was announced, US President Joe Biden it could be “a giant step forward” for the US in its fight against systemic racism.

Mr Biden spoke from the White House on Tuesday (local time), alongside Vice-President Kamala Harris, with the pair calling for Congress to act swiftly to address policing reform.

“It’s not enough,” he said. “We can’t stop here.”

Mr Biden said Mr Floyd’s death – which sparked violence across the US and the world – was “a murder in the full light of day and it ripped the blinders off” for all the world to see the problems with race and policing in the US.

He said it was important to ensure black and brown people did not fear interaction with law enforcement.

Mr Biden also phoned Mr Floyd’s family just minutes after the unanimous jury verdict was handed down, telling them, “We’re all so relieved.”

Ms Harris, who spoke before Mr Biden, said the US still must work to reform the criminal justice system.

“A measure of justice isn’t the same as equal justice,” she said.

Hours earlier, a crowd gathered outside the Minneapolis court erupted in cheers when the jury returned its verdict against Chauvin after just 10 hours of deliberation.

Chauvin, who faces up to 40 years in jail, was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree “depraved mind” murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Mr Floyd, a black man. Video of the incident touched off global protests over race and police brutality.

The 12 sequestered jurors considered three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses, including bystanders, police officials and medical experts along with hours of video evidence.

Chauvin will be sentenced in eight weeks but is widely expected to appeal his conviction.

-with AAP

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