Law enforcement experts asked to weigh in on the deadly police shooting of a 16-year-old girl who was attacking another person with a knife say that the police officer’s use of force was legally justified and that it appears he had no other options to de-escalate the situation.
The fatal shooting occurred Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio. Police were called to respond to a physical threat of violence at a house in the southeast area of the city. Bodycam footage released by the Columbus Division of Police after the incident shows the teen girl, Ma’Khia Bryant, attempting to stab two people with a knife. The video is from the perspective of Officer Nicholas Reardon, who arrived on the scene and shortly thereafter fired his weapon and shot Bryant before she could stab someone.
Bryant was taken to the hospital and later died of her injuries. Her death led many prominent leftists and celebrities to denounce “police terror” and the “injustice” of another death of a black person at the hands of the police.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday that the death was “tragic,” saying, “she was a child.”
“We’re thinking of her friends and family in the communities that are hurting and grieving her loss. We know that police violence disproportionately impacts black and Latino people in communities and that black women and girls, like black men and boys, experience higher rates of police violence. We also know that there are particular vulnerabilities that children in foster care, like Ma’Khia, face,” Psaki said.
Experts point out, however, that the shooting appears justified and note that Officer Reardon likely saved the lives of one or more people.
After reviewing the video footage, Bowling Green State University professor Philip Stinson, who specializes in criminal justice and researches fatal shootings, told the Columbus Dispatch that Officer Reardon appears to have been “legally justified in using deadly force.”
“It’s a terribly tragic situation, and my heart goes out to the girl and her family and friends,” he said Wednesday. “But from looking at the video, it appears to me that a