The Ohio police officer who shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in 2021 will not be facing any criminal charges. According to the Associated Press, a grand jury declared that officer Nicholas Reardon will not be indicted for killing Bryant even though her death was ruled a homicide by the Franklin County coroner.
“The jury decided to return a no bill which means they did not proceed with any criminal charges against officer Reardon and found no criminal act,” Fraternal Order of Police President Jeff Simpson said. “That is pleasing to hear. It’s always sad when there is a loss of life, however, the actions of the people at scene, caused him to take action that saved lives and he is trained very well. He did his job, and it is a good outcome.”
Special prosecutors Tim Merkle and Gary Shroyer said Reardon’s actions were justified.
“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 in a news release.
In Reardon’s body camera footage of the incident on April 20, Bryant is seen swinging a knife at a girl named Shai-onta Craig in front of her house after she pushed another girl to the ground. Reardon shot Bryant four times because he feared for Craig’s safety.
“At the time I fired my weapon, I was in fear for the life of the female in pink,” Reardon said about Craig to investigators.
The Bryant family’s attorney Michelle Martin released a statement to ABC on the family’s behalf regarding the grand jury’s decision.
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. We need to work tirelessly to protect those who are most vulnerable in our society. Ohio’s foster care system is failing our children and we cannot stand by and allow this to continue. As the one-year anniversary of Ma’Khia’s death approaches, her family is resolute in their fight for justice on her behalf.
The Columbus Department of Public Safety will now conduct an administrative investigation to “determine whether the officer’s actions were within Division policy,” according to their last Twitter post.