by J.D. Davidson
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has spent a lot of time pleading for patience and talking of the dangers of rushing to judgement in reaction to the shooting death of a 16-year-old girl by Columbus police officers.
Community organizers, however, are calling for a U.S. Justice Department investigation of the Columbus Police Department, and Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said there is lack of trust between the community and police.
Yost consistently has said half-facts lead to half-truths, tweeting two days after the death of Ma’Khia Bryant, “Let’s get all the facts and find the whole truth.”
Yost responded to a tweet from U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, the day after the shooting that said Bryant should be alive right now, by tweeting “Many facts are not yet known. Please, everyone give our investigators time to get all the facts before drawing conclusions or making accusations. Half the facts mean half-truths.”
Bryant was shot Tuesday on Columbus’ southeast side about 20 minutes before guilty verdicts were announced against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man.
Body cam footage from Bryant’s shooting showed the officer approaching a group of people and Bryant apparently pushing or swinging at a person who falls. Bryant then appeared to swing a knife at another person before being shot by the officer.
Officers were responding to a 911 call about an attempted stabbing. Protests began near the scene of the shooting later that evening.
Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd. He will be sentenced in about two months.
Yost told NBC News over weekend it’s important to evaluate each piece of evidence, and he promised a fair and transparent investigation into Bryant’s death.
“You have to wait and look and at all the facts,” Yost told NBC News.
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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. He is regional editor for The Center Square.