Family members of Ma’Khia Bryant, the teenager gunned down by Columbus Police officer Nicholas Reardon after calling authorities for help, say more work needs to be done by prosecutors investigating the shooting.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) concluded its review of the fatal April 2021 encounter and has referred the case to Franklin County Prosecutor Gary Tyack.
“Ma’Khia’s life as we all know was taken far too soon.” Attorney Michelle Martin said as she stood outside City Hall with Bryant’s grandmother and sister. “And we must do everything we can to make sure it is not swept under the rug.”
According to Martin, witnesses who were “excluded from the BCI investigation” must not be ignored.
“It was not thorough enough for me because they did not interview me that night.” Jeanene Hammond, Ma’Khia’s grandmother, said of the BCI investigation. “It was nearly a month after the incident that they sent me a letter stating that we want to interview you now. Why did you detain me that night and say you’d charge me with a felony and not interview me?”
For Ja’Naiha Bryant, life after losing her sister has been marked with unanswered questions and frustration with the legal system.
“I am trying to keep normalcy. I am trying to be a teenager but I am also trying to get justice for my sister,” Bryant said.
The police-involved shooting death of the 16-year-old teen came at an especially sensitive time for the nation, as many had just learned the verdict of the Derek Chauvin trial, in which the former Minnesota officer was found guilty of brutally murdering George Floyd.
Police have yet to release full details of what transpired when officers were called to a residence in Columbus that reported threats of inter-household violence. Bodycam footage showed where officer Nicholas Reardon fatally shot Ma’Khia after she wielded a knife at two woman near the driveway of the home.
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