A Franklin County, Ohio, jury declined to indict the police officer who fatally shot Ma’Khia Bryant, a Black teenager, last April, State Attorney General Dave Yost said in a news release Friday.
Yost also released investigative materials in the case, including more than a dozen interviews, crime scene and evidence photos and other records. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which was called in to investigate the officer-involved shooting, completed its probe and referred the case to the prosecuting attorney in July, the attorney general’s office said.
Bryant, 16, was fatally shot by police officer Nicholas Reardon on April 20, 2021, outside her foster home, after an argument with two other young women over housekeeping escalated, Ma’Khia’s foster mother previously said.
The next step in the case is “an administrative investigation to determine whether the officer’s actions were within Division policy,” the public safety department of the city of Columbus said in a statement.
“Because of that pending investigation, at this time we are not able to comment further,” the Friday statement said.
On the day of the fatal shooting, police responded to the home for reports of a disturbance.
Body camera footage showed Bryant lunging at a woman outside the house before she was fatally shot. In the moments that followed, Ma’Khia can be seen falling to the ground, while a man at the scene tells the officer, “She’s a —- kid.” The officer responds that the teenager was coming at a woman with a knife.
Ma’Khia was shot four times: in the back, lower torso, right shoulder and right thigh, an autopsy report showed last summer. Her cause of death was gunshot wounds to the torso, and the manner of death was homicide, a report from the Franklin County coroner’s office said.
Some policing experts at the time said the officer justifiably used force because someone else was in imminent danger. “He had no other alternative, in my mind, other than to take some action because of what was going on,” Charles Ramsey, a former Philadelphia police commissioner, told CNN in April.
Weeks after Bryant’s killing, several Democratic lawmakers requested a federal investigation into the 16-year-old’s foster care journey, writing in a letter that “when a child dies in foster care, the system has failed.”
“Unfortunately, it’s apparent that the many systems responsible for Ma’Khia’s protection failed her,” Michelle Martin, the attorney for Bryant’s family, said in a statement after the fatal shooting.
Reardon was hired in December 2019, police previously said. He also served in the Ohio National Guard since August 2015, and at the time was a staff sergeant assigned to the 121st Security Forces Squadron, Ohio Air National Guard, which is part of the 121st Air Refueling Wing, according to records.
CNN has reached out to the Bryant family attorney for comment.