Why was Nicholas Reardon cleared? Grand Jury absolves Ohio cop who fatally shot Ma'Khia Bryant, 16
Ohio prosecutors stated on Friday, March 11 that the Columbus police officer Nicholas Reardon, who killed Ma'Khia Bryant, 16, last year has been absolved of any criminal misconduct.
State Attorney General Dave Yost announced the news in a press statement on Friday and cited the evidence, which included more than a dozen interviews, images of the murder scene, and other related documents. Bryant was shot dead by Columbus police officer Nicholas Reardon in April 2021 after she brandished a knife at a young lady and slammed another woman to the ground.
Cops responded to a 911 call made from Bryant’s foster home about a group of girls who were threatening to stab members of the foster home.
The killing prompted the Justice Force to conduct an investigation against the police department in Ohio's capital city. While announcing the grand jury judgment, special prosecutors Tim Merkle and Gary Shroyer stated, “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.” They said the decision followed a full review of the shooting.
Bryant, who was Black, died as a result of her injuries after being shot four times in a row. Reardon, the culprit, is a white man. The cause of her death was identified as homicide in a medical assessment, rather than in a legal finding. The reports did not suggest that Bryant was attempting to commit a crime.
Bryant's death caused outrage in Ohio's capital city over deadly police killings of Black African-Americans, and also shed new light on the state's foster care system.
According to police, the woman Bryant was attacking, Shai-onta Craig, who formerly lived at the home, had returned and argued with her on the day of the crime.
Reardon informed investigators he didn’t use mace or a “hands-on” approach for arresting Bryant as he thought that would not have worked on her because she held the knife in her hand and seemed much bigger in size than him.
Angela Moore, Bryant’s foster mom, told investigators that neither Bryant nor her sister, who lived in her house, had ever shown aggression, but that all of the girls in the family fought on a regular basis.
A week after Bryant’s death, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther asked the Justice Department to evaluate the police department for possible “deficiencies and racial disparities.”
The US Justice Department approved a review of the police department, stating that its Office of Community Oriented Policing Services would conduct a review of "technical assistance" in areas such as training and recruitment with a focus on diversity.
Several controversial police shootings have occurred in Columbus, including the 2021 killing of 27-year-old Miles Jackson in an emergency hospital and the 2020 gunshot death of 47-year-old Andre Hill. The white police officer who shot and killed Hill has pleaded not guilty to several counts brought by the state attorney general's office.