Did Mahkia Bryant’s death need to happen?: An Opinion Piece

Did Mahkia Bryant’s death need to happen?: An Opinion Piece

Amritha Suresh

At 4.32 pm, the Columbus police received a call from Mahkia Bryant, a 16 year old black girl. “We got these grown girls over here trying to fight us. Trying to stab us. Trying to put their hands on our grandma,” she says, with audible screaming and yelling in the background. “Get here now!”

Officers Nicholas Reardon and Officer Serge Apollo then arrive on the scene. As they get out of their police car, they see Bryant charging towards 22 year old Tionna Bonner, holding a knife. Officer Reardon then says, “Hey, what’s going on?”, and not even seconds later, at 4.45 pm on the same day, pulls out his gun and shoots Makhia Bryant four times in her chest. 

This altercation was over housekeeping. Moore’s two previous foster children came to their old house in Columbus, to celebrate her birthday. That’s when Makhia and the other two young women began bickering over housekeeping. “It was over keeping the house clean,” Moore said. “The older one told them to clean up the house because ‘Mom doesn’t like the house dirty,”’ Moore said. “So that’s how it all started.” It is unclear what happened after that. 

Mahkia Bryant was known as a good student, and a good person. She promoted peace, and her mother said Makhia had a motherly nature about her. 

She died later that day. An innocent life stolen way too soon. Here are some reasons why I think it should not have happened. 

The cop who shot Makhia, Nicholas Reardon, is a military trained marksman. Makhia Bryant was only 16 years old, so why is a cop as decorated as Reardon, so intimidated by a black teenage girl, that his initial instinct is to shoot her 4 times in her chest? Even though Reardon claims he was just trying to stop Mahkia, he must have known 4 bullets to the chest was going to kill her. There are many other ways to immobilize a suspect, especially one that called for help, and was trying to defend herself. 

For police officers , shooting is supposed to be their last resort. That’s why they have other weapons, such as taser guns. They are “designed to disrupt voluntary control of muscles, causing “neuromuscular incapacitation”, which is often mistaken for unconsciousness by police officers and bystanders.” A taser gun can accurately shoot 20 feet in distance. Reardon was less than 10 feet away from Makhia when he shot her. 

Police are only supposed to shoot when there is an imminent threat, one that can not be stopped any other way. Reardon was less than 10 feet away from Makhia. There are so many other ways Reardon could have diffused the situation. She hadn’t even had the chance to live yet. To go to college, or have a career or get married. Police officers have to deal with so many criminals, if Reardon could not diffuse the Makhia Bryant situation, why does he deserve to be a police officer at all? An officer’s job is to protect and serve, but Makhia called to be protected, and instead she lost her life. The life of a beautiful innocent young girl cut too short.