Columbus, Ohio police officer Nicholas Reardon will not face charges in the shooting death of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, the Franklin County grand jury on Friday (March 11) returned a “no bill,” meaning it didn’t find probable cause that a crime had been committed.
He reportedly shot and killed Bryant in Southeastern Columbus on April 20, 2021 after she called police for help. She was shot four times after allegedly wielding a knife to protect herself from others while engaged in a scuffle outside of the home where she was staying.
In August, the Franklin County Coroner officially ruled her death a homicide, which means her death was caused by another person, but a grand jury decided his actions were not criminal.
Body camera footage released by the Columbus Police Department appears to show Bryant wielding a knife while going after another person at the scene. Reardon’s camera shows the officer fire his gun four times before Bryant fell to the ground.
Bryant’s friend and witnesses say that other people at the house she was staying at were the aggressors and that she called police for help before trying to defend herself.
Michelle Martin, the Bryant family attorney says they are disappointed with the ruling, and believe other methods than lethal force could have been used.
"Ma'Khia Bryant's family is disappointed that a Franklin County grand jury declined to indict the officer who shot and killed her last year. 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.
We believe that the tragedy that ultimately resulted in Ma'Khia's death started long before she was shot and killed by a Columbus police officer. There must be full-scale changes made to Ohio's foster care system to ensure that this doesn't happen to another child."