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Black teenage girl shot dead by US police on day of Chauvin verdict

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A demonstrator holds a Black Lives Matter flag outside Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti's house after a guilty verdict was announced at the trial of former Minneapolis police Office
A demonstrator holds a Black Lives Matter flag outside Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti's house after a guilty verdict was announced at the trial of former Minneapolis police Office   -   Copyright  Ringo H.W. Chiu/Copyright 2021 Associated Press
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Police in the US fatally shot a Black teenage girl who allegedly swung a knife at two other people on Tuesday, with the deadly shots being fired just minutes before the verdict in George Floyd's killing was read.

Officials with the Columbus Division of Police released a short segment of body camera footage of the incident on Tuesday night, just hours after the shooting unfolded in the Ohio city's east side.

The decision to release the video shortly after the incident unfolded came as the department continues to face significant scrutiny over a string of high-profile police killings.

The 10-second clip shows police responding to a call after someone reported being physically threatened, Interim Police Chief Michael Woods said at a news conference on the shooting.

In the video, the officer wearing the body camera exits a vehicle outside the house police were called to.

The officer walks towards a group of people in the driveway, when the girl appears to start swinging a knife at another girl or woman, who falls backwards.

The officer shouts for the girl to "get down". However, she appears to move towards another girl or woman who is pinned against a car.

The officer then fires four shots and the teen falls to the ground.

"You didn't have to shoot her!" a man at the scene yells at the officer. "She's just a kid, man!" he says.

The officer, whose race has not been identified, can be heard responding to the man: "She had a knife. She just went at her."

The teenage girl was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

It is still unclear exactly how old the young girl was, with one family member asserting that she was 15 and another saying she was 16, according to The Associated Press.

Woods asserted that state law does allow police to use deadly force to protect themselves and others.

However, it will be up to investigators to determine whether that use of force was justified in this case.

In a statement published on Twitter, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said it was a "tragic day in the city of Columbus" following the shooting.

"It's a horrible, heartbreaking situation," he said.

"Sharing the body worn camera footage — while incomplete — was critical," the mayor asserted. He said officials would be sharing more footage "as it becomes available".

Outside Tuesday's press conference, hundreds of demonstrators gathered, according to AP, with many calling on officials to "Say her name", a phrase connected to the BLM movement demanding that victims of police shootings be recognised.

“she was just a kid!” others shouted.

Officers reportedly sought to push protesters back and threatened to use pepper spray against the demonstrators.

The police shooting unfolded less than half an hour before the verdict in George Floyd's killing was delivered, with Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer accused of murdering him found guilty on all counts.

Floyd died after Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest on 25 May over a report of a fake $20 (€16) note.

His death sparked protests around the world against racial injustice and police violence against Black people.

On Tuesday, Chauvin was found guilty of all three charges against him in Floyd's killing, including second-degree and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter, with the second-degree murder count carrying a prison sentence of up to 40 years.

US President Joe Biden hailed the trial's outcome as a "step forward" for America in the midst of widespread calls for structural racism to be addressed.

However, the president suggested that the US still has a long way to go, asserting that "systemic racism is a stain on our nation's soul".

The president and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Floyd's family over the phone following the verdict, with the call heard in a video released on Twitter by the family's attorney, Benjamin Crump.

"Nothing is going to make it all better, but at least now there's some justice," Biden can be heard telling the family. "You're an incredible family. I wish I were there to put arms around you," he said.