Grand Jury Rejects Charges in Ma’Khia Bryant Shooting Despite Media Outcry

A still frame from Officer Nicholas Reardon's body camera video shows Ma'Khia Bryant (center, in black shirt and jeans) in the process of shoving a knife (visible in her right hand) toward Tionna Bonner (center, in pink). Officer Reardon opened fire split seconds later as Bryant's knife was near Bonner's head and neck. Bonner said she felt the blade against her skin.

We previously discussed the shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, in Columbus, Ohio. I wrote earlier that I believed that the shooting was justified under departmental rules and legal precedent. Nevertheless, the shooting of the teenager was decried as murder in the media. “The View” co-host Joy Behar insisted that, when the officer saw Bryant moving to stab another girl, he should have shot in the air. The grand jury clearly disagreed and refused to indict Officer Nicholas Reardon.

At the time of the shooting, various media outlets like NPR posted misleading accounts of the shooting, which fueled anger in the city.  (NPR later corrected its original account):

The Daily Beast also ran misleading coverage, including a quote from “local Columbus activist K.C. Taynor of Exodus Nation” that “the latest police killing made it impossible to celebrate the Chauvin verdict. It’s another murder. They’re animals. They treat us like animals.”

Such hair-triggered coverage has become the norm where public anger is fueled by false accounts or claims by media, including the Rittenhouse case and Sandmann controversy where the subjects later sued the media.

As we previously discussed, politicians and commentators often have a distorted view of the standard and realities in these cases. President Biden has long maintained that police officers should shoot armed suspects in the leg. However, there is a reason why police manuals do not say “aim for the leg” or “try to shoot the weapon out of the suspect’s hand.” It is called “imminent harm,” the standard governing all police shootings. The fact that many of us describe such shootings as “justified” is not to belittle these tragedies but to recognize the underlying exigencies that control the use of lethal force.

In the slow motion videos of shootings played on cable television, there often seems to be endless opportunities for de-escalation or alternatives to lethal force. None of us want to hear of the loss of another young life like Bryant’s. But Biden’s suggestion — that “instead of anybody coming at you and the first thing you do is shoot to kill, you shoot them in the leg” — is not exactly how it works, practically or legally.

It is clear from the videotape that Reardon had little choice but to use lethal force to protect the other teenager’s life.

Special Prosecutors H. Tim Merkle and Gary Shroyer presented the case to the grand jury and said that

“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. The Franklin County Grand Jury has completed a full and comprehensive review of the incident and has returned no criminal charges.”




30 thoughts on “Grand Jury Rejects Charges in Ma’Khia Bryant Shooting Despite Media Outcry”

  1. Can you imagine the hella money the deceased could have made in tag team wrestling matches? YO-OPPORTUNITY MISSED, MAN!

    1. “And in THIS corner, the up and coming challenger, MA’KHIA IL MONSTRO!!!”

      All that trouble thinking of such a great, memorable and original name for the deceased (Ma’Khia,) and now she’s gone. She was as big as some Kia’s, I’ll tell you that!

  2. It takes a fraction of a second to fatally stab someone. You blink, and they’re scared and bleeding out.

    There was no time.

    These armchair warriors would have been screaming at the cop to shoot an assailant in the act of swinging a knife at them. It’s so easy to pause, slow down, rewind, and pick apart a few second video from the safety of a screen.

    The cop saved the girl in pink’s life. The assailant was so out of control that she kept fighting with a knife in full view of the cops. She was out of chances at that point. The time to save her was hours, days, weeks, months ago, when she exhibited the issues that would ultimately and inevitably lead her to try to murder that girl. That was uncontrolled homicidal rage. It’s a tragedy that she got to that point. One wonders if there was a counsellor with the perfect set of words that could have set her on a path of being a calm, law-abiding, productive citizen. Once she raised the knife with her victim in her clutches, the time for mental health treatment had passed.

    We as a society have got to stop putting criminal and irresponsible behavior on a pedestal, expecting cops to save everyone, including homicidal maniacs. Cops don’t shoot anyone in the leg or arm. It’s too easy to miss and hit a bystander or lose that one chance to save someone.

    Most cops don’t stop a crime from happening. They arrive after the fact and gather evidence to solve the crime and make an arrest. If someone bigger than you, armed with a knife, gets their hands on you, and you’re unarmed, they’re probably going to do what they set out to do. You will get stabbed, mutilated, disfigured, or die. The cop protected the black girl from a knife attack, and that’s still fodder for the fickle mob.

    A cop killed Ma’Khia Bryant while in the act of trying to kill an unarmed girl. Bryant refused to obey commands and continued her assault, and she died for it. That was her bad decision. The cop already has to deal with the trauma of killing a teenage girl. Don’t make his anguish worse by pretending it was not justified. Bryant put herself in that position.

  3. @El Cid

    Now that’s a lie.

    Grandpa Joe said to shoot one barrel as a warning shot into the sky. Then confront them w the other barrel.

    Sorry, have to keep you honest about the lies Biden tells.

  4. @Paul Schulte,

    The Grand Jury is a formality.
    It had to happen after all of the evidence and the investigation concluded.

    The neighbor’s door cam footage showed everything…

    There is no question that the officer did the right thing.

  5. Don’t watch the video below if you’re squeamish. The video demonstrates the absolute fallacy of meeting a deadly threat with anything less than deadly force:

    For those who would rather not watch, this is what happened: wielding a knife in each hand, a deranged man charges a lady deputy. This remarkable woman fires several shots into his torso and yet he continues to charge and almost grabs her. He drops a knife, and when he tries to pick it up, she continues to fire. She rapidly LOADS A SECOND MAGAZINE and sustains fire as he STILL REFUSES TO COMPLY. He finally drops to ground, moaning in pain. He is pronounced dead at the hospital.

    Clearly, even deadly force as a defense may not be enough, but at least you tried. Anything less is risking suicide.

    Joe Biden is a colossal idiot. So is Joy Behar. Their security would never try to just “wing” a deadly assailant, I promise you.

  6. Maybe I am missing something. Bryant was IN THE PROCESS of stabbing another human being. Cops are told to assume that every time they shoot their weapon deadly force is necessary. This cop most likely saved the life of the other individual. Had he not acted that way it would have been a of dereliction of duty. The fact that Dementia Joe thinks that aiming for the leg is appropriate just solidifies the cop’s actions. What Biden does not know about policework could fill a library. As a betting man if Joe and Joyless are on the other side, I feel very confident about doubling my bet. EVERY TIME!

    1. You may not recall but the retort at the time (from some black media figures no less) was that a little knife fighting was common among black teens, and so should not have been viewed as a deadly situation meriting fire from the officer.

  7. The officer involved needs to be awarded for his fast reaction to a deadly situation. And his perfect execution of the necessary action to end the threat.

    I’m sorry for the dead girl’s parents, but there is a good chance she would have taken another life by the looks of her knife-wielding attack.

    1. “Racial Politics” always gets involved when a white cop shoots a black crim, no matter whether or not – as in this case – it’s so clearly justified

  8. Biden says “shot the shooter in the leg” This is the man who leads our Nation and is the Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces?

    Can we recall him?

    1. “Aim for the leg” is perhaps only the second most stupid firearms and self-defense related advice given by Biden, who once encouraged people to fire two barrels from a shotgun at noises you may hear in the dark outside of one’s home.

  9. The “media” is just that media> used to connote relying of news.

    No longer. Mass media, Main stream media, delivers the proper (Democrat /govt) daily propaganda.

    I suggest you remember that when taking in the nonstop narrative concerning Ukraine. I have no idea if the facts are as presented. I am positive it is what the Biden administration is providing, to a spectacular incurious media stenography pool. Note that the narrative has zero wavering, between media logos. Also remember, the “news” gatherers are owned by Entertainment companies.

    1. Iowan, what is BBC saying? What is Reuters saying? Only an idiot thinks our media operates in a vacuum.

  10. Regardless of the eventual outcome, being in jeopardy for your freedom and having to undergo the Grand Jury process is an outrage for someone who would otherwise have been hailed as a hero for saving the life of the woman about to be stabbed.
    The shock of having to use deadly force is bad enough without a year of second guessing and vilification. Not to mention the worry and financial burden of retaining counsel. Even if your union provides counsel, you may feel it wise to retain your own.
    I have 2 daughters, 2 granddaughters, and 2 great granddaughters, I would want the cop to do exactly as he did to save them.
    No, they are not white.

    1. Why should the race or ethnicity of a victim matter? To be honest, the police officer would have done the same had the person threatened with imminent harm been a career criminal. Perhaps, instead of broadcasting the lovely, smiling face of the assailant, the media should have posted a still reflecting the look on her face as she prepared to attack.

  11. The Officer made the right choice….terminate the threat.

    It was an easy choice….defend an unarmed person from the attack upon her by an attacker wielding a large knife who was in the act of perpetrating an attack that could very easily and most likely to result in serious bodily injury or death to the victim.

    That He was charged with a Crime, that he was lynched by the Media and other Race Baiters is the only Crime that was committed.

    We should be supporting Officers who save lives from violent Thugs deadly attacks on others…..and honor them when they do so.

    The problem in our society is we protest and protect the evil doers instead of shaming the behavior that leads to these kinds of police involved shootings.

  12. This should never even have gone to a grand jury. All the evidence made public suggested that the officer acted to avert the death or serious bodily injury of another girl, also black. Taking the case to a grand jury was an act of political cowardice. Fortunately, the grand jury made the right decision.

  13. Do people really seriously pay attention to Joy Behar?

    Thanks Professor Turley, well done

    1. AMEN, do I really care what Joy Behar says because she doesn’t think. Professor Turley, you would do us all a favor by not posting what she says or thinks.

    1. The point isn’t to get the facts of the thing correct and then discuss them, the point is to get certain demographics outraged for political ends by forcing the events into well-worn narratives.

  14. “Despite media outcry”!
    Yeah. Maybe a grand jury knows what it is doing.

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