Neighbor says Ma’Khia Bryant’s fatal shooting was justified, officer didn’t have a choice

A neighbor who took cover inside his home as police responded to Ma’Khia Bryant’s 911 call on Tuesday told a local newspaper he believes the police officer was justified in fatally shooting the 16-year-old girl.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, the teen girl was killed in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday just seconds after police arrived at the scene, responding to an emergency call that Bryant is believed to have placed, claiming she was in danger of being stabbed.

A police officer’s body cam footage shows the Bryant holding a knife. Just as the officer approaches, she is seen pushing a female to the ground. She then gets into a confrontation with another girl and appears to be lunging at her with a knife. The officer fires his gun multiple times, and Bryant is seen falling to the ground.The fatal incident, which took place just before the guilty verdict was read in the murder trial of former officer Derek Chauvin, has sparked protests and an investigation into the officer’s actions. The officer has been identified as Nicholas Reardon and he has been removed from street duty while state investigators examine the incident.

Donavon Brinson reportedly lives diagonally across the street from Bryant’s foster home. He told the Columbus Dispatch that he saw an argument at the residence earlier Tuesday, but that he figured it was “just a girl fight.” Later, when the arguing appeared to have escalated, Brinson went inside his home and remained there after police arrived. Brinson did not visually witness the killing, but reportedly said he heard four gunshots. He told the newspaper that when he looked outside his window, he saw Bryant on the ground. He later reviewed his own surveillance footage that captured the incident from a distance and at a wider angle than police body cam footage that has been released to the public. He said he could see Bryant with a knife in her hand, and he believes she intended to harm others.

Brinson said he believes the police officer’s actions may have saved the lives of other people involved in the fight.

“It was violent and all just happened so fast,” he said.

Bryant’s death came just ahead of the jury’s verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. The former Minneapolis Police Officer was found guilty of third-degree murder, second-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, who died in May 2020 after Chauvin knelt on his neck for several minutes.

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