A grand jury has decided not to charge the white Columbus, Ohio cop who shot and killed Black 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant last year, prosecutors announced.
According to Jeff Simpson, executive vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police Capitol City Lodge No. 9, officer Nicholas Reardon went before the jury on Friday (March 11), which delivered a “no bill.”
Reardon shot Bryant on April 20, 2021 while responding to a dispute in front of a foster home on Columbus’ southeast side. The cop told investigators he feared for the life of another young woman on the property, whom Bryant had attempted to stab. Reardon shot the teenager four times and her death was ruled a homicide by the coroner’s office.
“Under Ohio law, the use of deadly force by a police officer is justified when there exists an immediate or imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or another,” special prosecutors Tim Merkle and Gary Shroyer said after the jury’s decision.
However, Bryant’s family has claimed that others involved in the dispute were the aggressors and that the teen was defending herself.
“There should have been other non-deadly options available to deal with this situation,” her family said after the jury failed to indict Reardon.
“Ohio’s foster care system is failing our children and we cannot stand by and allow this to continue,” they continued. “As the one-year anniversary of Ma’Khia’s death approaches, her family is resolute in their fight for justice on her behalf.”
Following the grand jury’s decision, the city of Columbus will now launch an internal review to determine whether or not Reardon’s actions followed proper policy.
Last fall, the Justice Department agreed to conduct a review of the department, including training and recruiting practices, in light of Bryant’s death.