No Charges for Officer Who Shot Ma'Khia Bryant

No probable cause found for Columbus, Ohio, cop Nicholas Reardon in 16-year-old's death
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2021 8:51 AM CDT
Updated Mar 12, 2022 6:30 AM CST
It Took 10 Seconds for Cop to Shoot Black Girl, 16
Ohio State students gather on High Street to protest the police shooting that killed Ma'Khia Bryant and call on the university to cut its ties with the Columbus Police Department, Wednesday, at the Ohio Union in Columbus, Ohio.   (Kyle Robertson/The Columbus Dispatch via AP)

(Newser) Update: A grand jury won't be bringing charges against a white police officer in Columbus, Ohio, who fatally shot a 16-year-old Black girl last year. The Franklin County Prosecutor's Office and the state's Fraternal Order of Police say that the grand jury didn't find probable cause that a crime was committed when Nicolas Reardon gunned down Ma'Khia Bryant in April 2021 while responding to a domestic dispute call, reports WBNS. The city's Department of Public Safety released a statement noting that an administrative probe will now take place "to determine whether the officer's actions were within Division policy." FOP President Jeff Simpson praised the grand jury's decision, calling it a "good outcome," per ABC 6. An attorney for Bryant's family issued a statement saying the family was "disappointed," and that "there should have been other non-deadly options available to deal with this situation." Our original story from April 22, 2021, follows:

The police officer who fatally shot a 16-year-old girl in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday has been identified as Nicholas Reardon, a white officer who has been with the force for a little over a year, after joining in December 2019. He's been placed on administrative leave while the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation investigates, reports the Washington Post. Body camera footage shows Reardon shot Ma'Khia Bryant, a black teenager, 10 seconds after arriving on the scene of a disturbance. Ma'Khia is shown charging one person, who falls to the ground, then pinning another person against a car, apparently while holding a knife. Reardon yells, "Get down!" multiple times before firing four shots. "She had a knife. She just went at her," he adds, per NPR. "She's a f---ing kid, man!" a bystander responds. "Damn, are you stupid?" Police also released two 911 calls. In one, the caller describes a person "trying to stab us," per the Post.

"I wish to hell it hadn't happened," interim police chief Michael Woods told reporters. Kiara Yakita, founder of the Black Liberation Movement Central Ohio, questioned why Reardon didn't do more to de-escalate the situation. "Law enforcement and city officials are rushing to make excuses because she had a knife," she tells the Post. But "as soon as [Reardon] got out of the car, he had the gun ready to shoot somebody." There are also unproven claims that officers said "blue lives matter" after the shooting, which drew protests. While Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said the investigation must "play out," he also said the country "must learn from the tragic death of George Floyd." He added a bill compiled with state Rep. Phil Plummer, a former sheriff, would require independent investigations of "critical incidents" involving police, create a "peace officer oversight board," and establish central use-of-force and officer discipline databases. (Read more police shooting stories.)

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