Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and City Attorney Zach Klein have asked that federal officials look deeper into the practices of the Columbus Police Department. Their request comes one week after Columbus Police Department Officer Nicholas Reardon shot and killed 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant.
“This is not about one particular officer, policy, or incident; rather, this is about reforming the entire institution of policing in Columbus,” Ginther and Klein stated
“Simply put: We need to change the culture of the Columbus Division of Police.”
Bryant was killed on April 20 after her sister reportedly called the police in an effort to protect her sister. At the time she reportedly made the call, a group of older girls were accused of trying to attack Bryant. In an attempt to defend herself, Bryant wielded a knife to fend off the group off. As the altercation spilled out into the front lawn of a nearby home, Reardon appeared on the scene. Within fifteen seconds of arriving, the police officer pulled out his gun and killed Bryant. News of the shooting traveled throughout the country as the world learned that Derek Chauvin would be convicted of murdering George Floyd.
In the aftermath of Bryant's death, Reardon has been placed on administrative leave and protesters have taken to the streets. The Ohio Bureau of Investigation has opened an investigation into the Bryant killing, but the Bryants feel that more can be done. Just a few days before Ginther and Klein publicly called for a federal probe, Bryant's family did as well.
“We’ll be calling for a couple of federal investigations. One being from the Health and Human Services asking that we look into Ohio’s foster care system, starting here in Franklin County. We’re also going to be calling for a Department of Justice investigation into the shooting. And we’re still investigating who else could be at fault, because this can’t happen again,” Michelle Martin, an attorney representing Bryant's family, said.
While legal experts and public officials wait to see if the FBI will look into the actions of the Columbus Police Department, Ma'Khia Bryant will be laid to rest at The First Church of God in Ohio on April 30.
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