‘Video doesn’t lie’: Neighbors of Ma’Khia Bryant indicate Columbus officer had no choice but to shoot

Home security videos showing various angles of the shooting death of knife-wielding 16-year-old Ma’khia Bryant by a Columbus, Ohio police officer clearly justify his actions, according to neighbors who say more people could have died had he not acted.

The 26-second footage, posted at the Daily Mail, provides additional insight and context regarding the fatal encounter and makes clear that the officer not only arrived in the middle of a chaotic situation but that he literally had to assess the situation and react within a few seconds.

The footage, from a security camera across the street from where Bryant and others appeared to be arguing, shows the officer pulling up in his squad car. A girl later identified as Bryant is seen walking along a driveway toward other people. As one girl is pushed down by a man, the officer first reacts to that before quickly noticing Bryant charging at another girl dressed in pink.

The officer’s bodycam footage, which was released shortly after the incident, clearly shows that Bryant is armed with a knife and is preparing to attack the girl in pink.

Donavon Brinson, the neighbor with the footage, told the Daily Mail the encounter “was violent and all just happened so fast.”

The additional footage was revealed as Black Lives Matter activists and many Democrats immediately questioned the officer’s quick response.

“A Black teenage girl named Ma’Khia Bryant was killed because a police officer immediately decided to shoot her multiple times in order to break up a knife fight. Demand accountability. Fight for justice. #BlackLivesMatter,” Valerie Jarrett, a longtime aide to former President Barack Obama, tweeted Wednesday morning.

In response to the criticism, the Columbus Police Department has released the officer’s bodycam footage as well as a recording of the 911 call which may have been made by Bryant, the Daily Mail reported. The female on the call asks the dispatcher to send police “now” because some girls were “trying to stab us.”

Bryant’s family said she was the one who called because other girls were threatening violence but police have not yet confirmed that.

Police released three bodycam videos during a Wednesday press conference as the officer who fired four shots into Bryant was identified as Nicolas Reardon, who has been with the department for slightly more than a year.

Bryant is easily seen holding a knife in bodycam footage while she charges at the girl in pink. She also appears to have been attempting to lunge at another girl as Reardon opened fire.

The incident came only moments before jurors in Minneapolis returned murder and manslaughter verdicts against former officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd last May. Also, days earlier, another white officer appears to have accidentally shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis.

Brinson, who is a U.S. Air Force veteran, said he believes that Reardon was in a “bad spot” as soon as he arrived, adding that the officer responded with his “best judgment.”

“He only had seconds to respond from my point of view,” Brinson told the Daily Mail. “Watching this, unfortunately, the whole scenario put [the officer] in a bad spot.”

“They were calling each other the B-word, so I figured it was just a girl fight,” he told the Columbia Dispatch. “It was violent and all just happened so fast.”

Meanwhile, Ira Graham III, another neighbor who has lived in the area for nearly 20 years, agreed that the bodycam footage makes clear Reardon did not have a choice.

“I believe in truth and facts. Video doesn’t lie. She was in full attack mode,” he told the paper regarding Bryant.

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Jon Dougherty

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