Ma'Khia Bryant shooting: Nicholas Reardon had no clear 'option' rather than firing, says use-of-force expert
'When an officer sees one person attacking another person with a weapon at close range in a way that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury, lethal force is appropriate'
Use-of-force expert Seth Stoughton has defended the police officer who was involved in Ma’Khia Bryant’s shooting. Stoughton said officer Nicholas Reardon had no clear “options or alternatives” other than firing. The cop has faced a tremendous amount of criticism for not doing anything to de-escalate the tension when he arrived at the scene on April 20.
It has been said that on the fateful day, Bryant was trying to stab another girl at her foster home. She was shot dead hours before Derek Chauvin was convicted for the death of Geroge Floyd.
Every 3 out of 5 people Minneapolis officers rendered unconscious with neck restraint since 2015 were black
Stoughton explained, “When an officer sees one person attacking another person with a weapon at close range in a way that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury, lethal force is appropriate. The use of a firearm is the most reliable way to address that imminent threat.” However, the use-of-force expert at the University of South Carolina Law School had a very different thought about the use-of-force approach during the time of Chauvin.
At the time, he said, “Both the knee across Mr Floyd’s neck and the prone restraint were unreasonable, excessive and contrary to generally accepted police practices.” "If there's a belief that some members of the community deserve less dignity than others, these types of things will keep on happening,” Stoughton added.
Earlier, Columbus Police Department’s interim police chief Michael Woods also agreed with Reardon’s use of force on April 20. “One of the difficult things with that is we don’t train to shoot the leg because that’s a small target. We train to shoot center mass to what is available to stop that threat. There was a threat going on, a deadly force threat that was going on, so the officer was trained to shoot center mass — the largest part of a body that is available to them,” Woods reportedly said on April 22.
The interim police chief continued, “If there’s not deadly force being perpetrated on someone else at that time, an officer may have the opportunity to have cover, distance and time to use a taser. But if those things aren’t present, and there is an active assault going on in which someone could lose their life, the officer can use their firearm to protect that third person.”
“When you try and start shooting legs or arms, rounds miss and they continue on and there are people behind that who could be in danger that are not committing anything, so we try to minimize danger to anyone else if we have to use our firearm,” Woods added.
Andrew Scott, a former Boca Raton, Florida, police chief, stated that cops are provided training on not to use “less deadly force” on individuals using deadly force themselves. He reportedly mentioned that shooting an armed suspect in the leg only happens in Hollywood, not in real life. Raton also explained why Reardon fired four bullets at Bryant. He added, “If that officer had to shoot her another time because the threat was still prevalent, he would have been justified based on the law and I imagine on his policy.”