The police officer responsible for fatally shooting 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing. According to the Associated Press, Ohio prosecutors announced on Friday (March 11) that they made the decision after fully reviewing Columbus police officer Nicholas Reardon’s deadly actions.
“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,” explained special prosecutors Tim Merkle and Gary Shroyer.
According to the report, Bryant’s family expressed, “There should have been other non-deadly options available to deal with this situation.
“Ohio’s foster care system is failing our children and we cannot stand by and allow this to continue. As the one-year anniversary of Ma’Khia’s death approaches, her family is resolute in their fight for justice on her behalf.”
Ma’Khia Bryant was shot by Reardon four times on April 20, 2021, after law enforcement was called to the scene to break up a domestic dispute. The police officer reportedly did not think using mace or a “hands-on” approach would have worked due to Bryant holding a knife. He was the only officer at the scene and claimed Bryant appeared much bigger than him.
“At the time I fired my weapon, I was in fear for the life of the female in pink,” Reardon said of Shai-onta Craig, the woman in the altercation with Bryant.
Bryant was laid to rest at First Church of God, a church on the Southeast Side of the capital city. Funerals for Casey Goodwin Jr. and Andre Hill, two Black men who were killed by law enforcement months prior, were also memorialized at the religious center.
The Columbus Department of Public Safety issued a statement on social media and revealed what is to come next.
“The next step in this process is an administrative investigation to determine whether the officer’s actions were within Division policy,” the memo relayed. “Because of that pending investigation, at this time we are not able to comment further.”
Statement on grand jury decision in the Ma'Khia Bryant case: pic.twitter.com/pn2DkkAKLw
— Columbus Department of Public Safety (@ColumbusSafety) March 11, 2022