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Columbus Police Release More Video, Details in Shooting Death of 16-Year-Old Girl

todayApril 23, 2021 3

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The Columbus Police Department released the recording less than six hours after Ma’Khia Bryant’s death at the hands of a police officer.

What We Know:

  • The bodycam footage reveals the officer who fired the deadly shots was Nicholas Reardon. It also reveals events that led up to the shooting. The video shows Reardon approaching a group standing in a driveway. When he arrives, he begins to ask about the situation. Bryant is also seen pushing and swinging at another person, who then falls to the ground. Reardon proceeded to pull his gun out and asked Bryant to get down. Bryant swung a knife at a girl on a car’s hood. Reardon then fatally shot her four times.

“Why’d you shoot her? You didn’t have to shoot her,” one bystander said.

  • Reardon went on to pick up the knife near Bryant’s body. He said, “She had a knife. She just went at her.” Interim Columbus Police Chief Michael Woods reported people called a medic 90 seconds after the altercation. Columbus Fire medics were approved to enter the scene at 4:46 p.m. Medics transported a critical Bryant to a nearby hospital, where doctors pronounced her dead at 5:21 p.m. The department placed Reardon on leave after the shooting. “It’s a tragedy. There’s no other way to say it. It’s a 16-year-old girl,” declared Woods.
  • Furthermore, the police released two 911 calls about the disturbance. But, it was unclear if Bryant was the caller. In one audio, callers were screaming that a girl was trying to stab the individual. The call quickly disconnected. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is currently handling the case. After reviewing the details, they will send the findings to a prosecutor. This may be the attorney general’s office or the Franklin County prosecutor. Doing so will prepare attorneys for consideration before a grand jury.
  • Public Safety Director Ned Pettus Jr. mentioned the video raises questions. Further, he believes it requires viewers to pause, analyze the sequence of events, and wait for the facts determined by an independent investigation.

Pettus questioned, “We have to ask ourselves: What information did the officer have? What did he see? How much time did he have to assess the situation? And what would have happened had he taken no action at all?”

  • NBC wrote it was unknown if Reardon provided any warning or instructions before Bryant’s shooting. Woods clarified the policeman would not have been required to give any precautions. Additionally, Woods said the department’s policy permits officers to shoot if they feel someone’s life is in danger. NPR’s Frank Morris says “part of the official narrative” was that Reardon was trying to protect the others in the fight. However, Hazel Bryant, Ma’Khia’s aunt, disputes this. Hazel believes Ma’Khia was acting in self-defense. Hazel declared  “grown, adult women” fought her niece.
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther asked the public for patience while officials investigate. Regardless, citizens quickly demanded justice. Shortly after the shooting, protesters with Black Lives Matter signs, megaphones, and a loudspeaker gathered behind the crime scene tape, about a half-block from the shooting scene. 50 people had rallied by 8:30 p.m., including Kiara Yakita, founder of the Black Liberation Movement Central Ohio. She asked why police would “kill this baby.” Another activist, K.C. Taynor, referenced the Derek Chauvin verdict that occurred the same day. Through a megaphone, she proclaimed Black people could not celebrate anything because “you can’t be Black.”
  • In light of Ma’Khia’s death, Ginther said it needs to become a reflection of larger issues in the town. He urged the city and community to join together to ensure children never feel the need to resort to violence as “a means of solving disputes or in order to protect themselves.”

Since January 2020, eight Columbus residents have died in police shootings. This includes Andre Hill, who police murdered after mistaking his phone for a gun. Ma’Khia’s death is an extra push to end police brutality. While America celebrates George Floyd’s justice, it must be repeated for Ma’Khia.

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