Justice is served! Grand Jury clears Columbus officer in shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant

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COLUMBUS, OH – A grand jury has declined to bring charges against the Columbus police officer who fatally shot 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant last year.

Officer Nicholas Reardon responded to a domestic dispute call on April 2021 on Legion Lane, where he was forced to fatally shoot Bryant as she attacked another girl with a knife

The Fraternal Order of Police said a grand jury declined to bring charges against Officer Reardon. FOP president Jeff Simpson said:

“The jury decided to return a no bill which means they did not proceed with any criminal charges against officer Reardon and found no criminal act.

“That is pleasing to hear. It’s always sad when there is a loss of life, however, the actions of the people at scene, caused him to take action that saved lives and he is trained very well. He did his job, and it is a good outcome.”

Police with the Columbus Division of Police released a portion of the video just hours after the shooting. Officials were also concerned about the timing of the shooting, minutes after the guilty verdict was released in the trial of former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.

Police had hoped the video would ease tensions following a series of high-profile police shootings, but the shooting sparked protests in Columbus and across the country.

The 10-second video clip shows the officer exiting the police vehicle at a house after police received a 911 call reporting a person had been threatened with a knife around 4:45 p.m.

A group of people can be seen in a driveway as the officer begins to move toward them. As he steps toward the group, a black female, later identified as Bryant, can be seen swinging a knife at another female, who falls backward.

Officer Reardon ordered the armed teen to “get down” several times. Bryant refused to comply with the officer and charged another female pinned against a car.

As Bryant begins to swing the knife at the pinned female, Officer Reardon fires his pistol four times. Bryant was struck by at least one shot and falls to the sidewalk. A black-handled blade similar to a kitchen knife lies on the sidewalk next to her.

Michelle Martin, an attorney for Bryant’s family, released a statement about the grand jury’s decision, saying the officer had alternatives:

“Ma’Khia Bryant’s family is disappointed that a Franklin County grand jury declined to indict the officer who shot and killed her last year. Ma’Khia’s family has long wondered why this officer opted for lethal force even though there should have been other non-deadly options available to deal with this situation.

“We believe that the tragedy that ultimately resulted in Ma’Khia’s death started long before she was shot and killed by a Columbus police officer. There must be full-scale changes made to Ohio’s foster care system to ensure that this doesn’t happen to another child.”

Following the grand jury’s decision, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost released Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations investigative files. The Columbus Division of Police requested that BCI conduct an investigation into the shooting.

Yost told reporters:

“BCI was called to do a thorough, independent investigation of the facts.

“I’ve asked for patience while promising transparency, and now is the appropriate time for that work to be made public.”

BCI completed its investigation and referred the case to the Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney on July 7, 2021. Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther commented on the investigation and grand jury decision:

“I am grateful for the grand jury for their work and to BCI for their investigation. The next step is an administrative investigation by CPD, and Franklin County continues to look into Ma’Khia Byant’s care in the foster system.

“In the end, none of that brings Ma’Khia back, and we must continue to lift up her family in our prayers.”

FOP President Simpson said the grand jury’s decision was correct and that Officer Reardon was relieved by the ruling:

“Nicholas Reardon is an amazing officer, he’s an amazing young man. He’s a veteran and he’s also active in the military right now. He is relieved, he’s happy. His family is happy.

“There’s still a sad reality for him that he was put in a very unfortunate situation and unfortunately, he’s going to have to live with for the rest of his life, but the right thing happened today, and he’s going to push through and continue to serve the citizens of Columbus well.”

Justice is served! Grand Jury clears Columbus officer in shooting of 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant

Neighbors of Ma’Khia Bryant back up officer’s decision to use deadly physical force: ‘She needed to be stopped’

April 24, 2021

 

The following article contains editorial content written by a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

COLUMBUS, OH- Let’s get something out of the way off the jump. No police officer goes to work with the intent to use their firearm to kill anyone…white, black, yellow, purple…whatever.

In fact, 99.999% of police officers pray they can go through their entire career without ever having to take a human life.

Sometimes when officers are put in the position of having to take a life, it is simply an untenable situation. That was the case in Columbus, Ohio earlier this week when Officer Nicholas Reardon had to make a split second decision.

While the grievance mob has vilified Reardon for making that decision, at least one neighbor says that he had “no other choice.”

Donovan Brinson, who lived across the street from Ma’Kia Bryant said Tuesday that video captured by his garage security camera convinced him that Reardon was put in a situation where he had no other choice, National Review reported.

Brinson told reporters that he noticed the initial disturbance as he pulled into his driveway.

“They were calling each other the B-word, so I figured it was just a girl fight,” Brinson told The Columbus Dispatch.

He told the paper that the fight began to intensify as he took his dog outside, and then heard four gunshots when police officers arrived on the scene.

After the incident, Brinson said he went and looked at video from his surveillance camera, and was convinced that had the officer not acted, Bryant could have possibly stabbed multiple people who were in the area. He believes the officer was left with no other alternative.

“It was violent and all just happened so fast,” he said.

He noted that he had seen one girl who was wearing pink who is visible in body camera video widely seen which was released by the Columbus PD.

The 26-second video, which Brinson provided to investigators and reporters, showed a police officer performing CPR on Bryan after she was shot.

Yet another neighbor, Ira Graham III said he too heard gunshots Tuesday afternoon and saw police cruisers driving down the street. He agreed with Brinson, saying that after he viewed the police video, he said:

“I believe in truth and facts. Video doesn’t lie. She was in full attack mode.”

In speaking about the female in pink, he said she [Bryant] “was literally aiming a knife at this young lady.”

“She needed to be stopped at that point. That young lady’s life was at stake,’ Graham said.

Graham, appearing on CNN’s “New Day” told anchor John Berman that the officer had no choice.

“I can certainly see why the police officer chose to stop her. Now, whether or not less lethal force could have been used, whether or not a Taser could have been chosen instead of a gun—I don’t know,” he said.

“But I do know that with Ma’Khia having that lethal weapon in her hand, she needs to be stopped.”

Of course, a bevy of so-called “experts” criticized the officer for using deadly physical force even as Bryant was within a split second of plunging what appeared to be a steak knife into the other female, the New York Post reported.

A neighborhood resident, Kayla Cobb, 23 said she didn’t know why the officer didn’t use a Taser. That’s probably why Cobb isn’t a police officer. She said she left flowers at the scene “because she [Bryant] was a baby.”

“He should have told her to put down the knife,” said another “expert,” Tommy Taylor.

He must have missed the whole part where the officer did in fact give Bryant commands, where he was heard on video saying, “Hey, hey, hey, hey. Get down!” At that point Bryant lunged with the knife at her potential victim and was shot by Reardon.

Reardon, who was hired in 2019, has been placed on administrative leave pending a review of the shooting, as is typical in officer-involved shootings. Reardon is also a member of the Air National Guard who has received an expert marksman badge, officials said.
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