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The Ohio police officer who acted to save the life of a teenage girl by shooting another 16-year-old girl who was only seconds away from plunging a knife into her was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing on Friday, a decision that isn’t likely to sit well with Black Lives Matter and their fellow anti-cop activists.
Columbus police officer Nicholas Reardon learned the good news that he would not be facing criminal charges for the death of Ma’Khia Bryant who, while fighting with the other girl, produced the knife and was prepared to stab her in the incident which took place last April.
Upon arriving at the scene in response to a 911 call from the girl’s foster home, Officer Reardon prevented a likely murder by shooting his weapon four times, striking Bryant who immediately fell to the ground, she was rushed to the hospital where she later died from her injuries.
“At the time I fired my weapon, I was in fear for the life of the female in pink,” Reardon said.
Police bodycam video documented the harrowing moment when his quick and decisive action spared one girl from possible death and Bryant from a prison sentence.
Protesters are already rallying around the police shooting of a 15-year-old girl in Columbus, OH, but body camera footage shows she was trying to stab another girl with a knife when she was shot and killed. pic.twitter.com/Wr9YXhQWoN
— Dan O'Donnell (@DanODonnellShow) April 21, 2021
“Reardon told investigators he didn’t think using mace or a “hands-on” approach would have worked because of the knife in Bryant’s hand, because he thought he was the only officer on scene and because Bryant appeared much bigger than him,” according to Fox News.
A Franklin County grand jury declined to bring charges against Reardon, issuing a “no bill” which means that they did not find probable cause that a crime was committed.
Bryant’s family expressed disappointment that Reardon wasn’t charged.
“Ma’Khia’s family has long wondered why this officer opted for lethal force even though there should have been other non-deadly options available to deal with this situation,” wrote attorney Michelle Martin in a statement that also called for “full-scale changes made to Ohio’s foster care system to ensure that this doesn’t happen to another child.”
Following Bryant’s shooting last April, NBA superstar LeBron James, who has been a major voice in fomenting hate and distrust toward police, tweeted out an image of Officer Reardon with the word’s “YOU”RE NEXT” followed by an emoji of an hourglass with the hashtag #ACCOUNTABILITY, leading some to suggest that the Los Angeles Lakers forward was calling for violence.
King James deleted the tweet but it has been preserved by others.
This post by @KingJames could be read as an incitement to violence against a @ColumbusPolice officer who responded to the attempted stabbing attack by #MakhiaBryant. LeBron James has deleted the tweet. Here is an archive: https://t.co/6Dn4LnS22M #BLM pic.twitter.com/epH7EQFjuf
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) April 21, 2021
In subsequent tweets, James said that he regretted shooting from the hip, “ANGER does any of us any good and that includes myself! Gathering all the facts and educating does though! My anger still is here for what happened that lil girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail!”
ANGER does any of us any good and that includes myself! Gathering all the facts and educating does though! My anger still is here for what happened that lil girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail! 🙏🏾✊🏾🤎👑
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 21, 2021
“I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because its being used to create more hate -This isn’t about one officer. it’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY,” he wrote in a second tweet.
I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because its being used to create more hate -This isn’t about one officer. it’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 21, 2021
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther also issued a statement: “I am grateful for the grand jury for their work and to BCI for their investigation. The next step is an administrative investigation by CPD, and Franklin County continues to look into Ma’Khia Byant’s care in the foster system. In the end, none of that brings Ma’Khia back, and we must continue to lift up her family in our prayers.”
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