# Do roommates remember the tragic police killing Makhia Bryant? Well Ohio prosecutors announced Friday that the Columbus officer who shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia last year has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.
If you recall, in April 2021, police responded to a 911 call made from Ma’Khia’s foster home about a group of girls threatening to stab family members. Video released by police shows police officer Nicholas Reardon arriving at the scene, pulling out his gun and firing four times at Ma’Khia as she emerges swinging a knife at a young woman. Ma’Khia’s murder further increased tensions in Columbus over the police shooting of a Black man, while also unraveling the state’s foster care system.
While announcing the grand jury’s decision, special prosecutors Tim Merkle and Gary Shroyer shared that “Under Ohio law, the use of deadly force by a police officer is justifiable when there is an immediate or imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or other.” They said the decision was made after a review of the entire shooting.
Following the jury’s decision, the Ma’khia family’s attorney, Michelle Martin, released a statement that:
“Ma’Khia Bryant’s family is disappointed that a grand Franklin County grand jury has refused to convict the officer who shot her dead last year. Ma’Khia’s family has long wondered why the officer chose to use lethal force even though there should have been other non-lethal options to deal with the situation. We believe that the tragedy that ultimately led to Ma’Khia’s death began long before she was fatally shot by a Columbus police officer. Comprehensive changes must be made to Ohio’s foster care system to ensure that this doesn’t happen to another child.”
Foster parent Angela Moore told investigators that neither Bryant nor her sister, who was also in the home, had never shown signs of violence, but that all the girls in the home argued periodically.
A week after Bryant’s death, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther invited the Justice Department to review the police department for possible “racist defects and disparities.” The U.S. Department of Justice accepted, and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation launched an investigation into the officer-involved shooting, completing their investigation in July 2021.
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