April 20 will be remembered as one of the more eventful days in American history. In Minneapolis, a jury found Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd. Then, Columbus Police Department Officer Nicholas Reardon shot and killed 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant.
One week after her death, much has been made about the events that led up to her death. According to reports, Bryant called the police because she felt she was being threatened by older girls in her neighborhood. Officers made their way out to the site of the dispute while Bryant attempted to defend herself. Carrying a knife, she appears to chase away the girls that reportedly threatened her. Less than fifteen seconds after arriving to the scene and assessing the situation, Reardon pulled out his gun and killed the Ohio teenager.
Bryant's death has sparked outrage and protests around the country. While many were infuriated by her death, others have sided with Reardon's actions. During a recent interview, Rep. Val Demings called Bryant's death a "sad moment," but she feels Reardon "responded as he was trained to do."
"I also was a patrol officer who was out there on the street having to make those split-second decisions. You know, now everybody has the benefit of slowing the video down and seizing the perfect moment. The officer on the street does not have that ability. He or she has to make those split-second decisions, and they're tough,” Demings told John Dickerson of CBS
“But the limited information that I know in viewing the video — it appears that the officer responded as he was trained to do with the main thought of preventing a tragedy and loss of life of the person who was about to be assaulted.”
As her conversation with Dickerson developed, she urged others not to make Bryant's death a "political issue."
"Let's don't make this a political issue. When we look historically, throughout our history, even though there's always been too strong political parties, they always seem in most instances to be able to lay down their political difference and rise to meet that significant moment," she added.
Bryant will be laid to rest in Ohio on Friday. Meanwhile, Demings and other members of Congress will continue to work on the George Floyd Justice Policing Act.
"I'm hoping that we will put politics aside and come together because we need to get this done," she said about the policing act.
"Our good police officers need it, and quite frankly, the American people need it. We in Congress in both chambers can meet this moment as well if we have the political will to do so."
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