Ma’Khia Bryant had a knife, and she was a fraction of a second from plunging it into an unnamed black woman dressed in a pink sweatsuit.
But she never got the chance, thanks to the efforts of a Columbus, Ohio, police officer named Nicholas Reardon. Reardon, responding to a 911 call in which it was reported that a young woman was assaulting others with a knife, drew his pistol and shot Ma’Khia Bryant before she could stab her intended victim. She died shortly thereafter as the neighborhood around the foster home where she lived began to boil at the scene, with profanity-laced epithets hurled at Reardon and other law enforcement officers as they attempted to save her life.
We know these things because they’re facts established by video from Reardon’s body camera. Other body-cam video from police at the scene confirmed the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
“She came after me,” says Bryant’s intended victim in one body-cam clip. An officer asks, “With a knife?” The woman in pink responds, “Yeah, so he got her.”
Reardon’s body camera footage also shows that, as he gets out of his police cruiser, Ma’Khia Bryant knocks down what appears to be a white girl who is then kicked by an unnamed black man. Reardon ignores that action and focuses on Bryant because he sees the knife as she rushes at the girl in pink. Bryant ignores his verbal commands to stop; at that point he shoots her.
Ma’Khia Bryant was 16 years old according to her mother, who turned up soon after the event, and 15 according to her aunt, who also stated, falsely, that she had dropped the knife before she was shot. She was described as an “honor roll student” and a “sweet child.”
None of the character witnesses for Ma’Khia Bryant have yet explained why she was living in a foster home, much less why someone from that home called the police about a knife attack in progress before Reardon arrived.
By any objective standard, these facts make Nicholas Reardon out to be a good cop who deserves congratulations for saving a life with fast action.
We no longer have objective standards when it comes to law enforcement in certain communities in this country, however. Not when, practically before the body was cold, our old friend Benjamin Crump descended on the scene to fan the flames of racial and anti-police emotion already white-hot over the Derek Chauvin trial, which concluded Tuesday.
“As we breathed a collective sigh of relief today, a community in Columbus felt the sting of another police shooting as @ColumbusPolice killed an unarmed 15yo Black girl named Makiyah Bryant,” Crump tweeted.
He wasn’t through. “Another child lost! Another hashtag,” he added, followed by the hashtag: #JusticeForMakiyahBryant.
Apparently, Ben Crump doesn’t think a knife is a weapon.
Not when there’s a paycheck to be had.
Crump then went on the View and said that black people have always been “overpoliced” in this country.
Yet it was a black person who called 911 and summoned the police with a report that someone, presumably Ma’Khia Bryant, was attacking people with a knife.
Bryant’s mother claims it was Ma’Khia who called the police. We’ll find out whether that’s true in the coming days, as we’ll also find out whether Columbus goes up in flames over the incident. There were mostly peaceful protests in the Ohio capital city following the shooting.
It would seem a bit peculiar that Ma’Khia Bryant was the one calling 911 about knife attacks, if when the police showed up she was the one using a knife to attack people. When you call 911 about knife attacks, it typically gives you knowledge that the cops will be on hand shortly looking for someone with a knife, and that’s a solid tip-off that you really don’t want to have a knife on you when they arrive.
There is reason to doubt that any of what Ma’Khia Bryant’s mother said is true. She’s certainly due sympathy at the loss of a child, but not license to spread falsehoods over the circumstances of that loss. Not when lives and property are put in peril in the foreseeable explosion on the streets those falsehoods can create.
That also goes for basketball star and serial foot-in-mouth buffoon LeBron James, who tweeted “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY” above a picture of Reardon, who it should probably be pointed out had just saved the life of a black girl. By now it might be time for someone in China James’s camp to insist that he keep his mouth shut slightly more often.
Other chatter following the incident in Columbus focuses on the “coincidence” that no sooner is the George Floyd matter concluded with the guilty verdicts against Chauvin in Minneapolis than there is the Ma’Khia Bryant incident proving how endemic police brutality is in America.
It’s a “coincidence.”
A similar incident played out in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, on Wednesday, as a man was shot while attempting to flee police who were on hand serving a search warrant at his residence, and that also sparked mostly peaceful protests.
Meanwhile the White House did everything it could to tamp down the outrage in the streets over the Columbus incident and …
Sorry. That didn’t happen. Instead we got Jen Psaki saying this:
She was a child. We’re thinking of her friends and family and the communities that are hurting and grieving her loss. We know that police violence disproportionately impacts black and Latino people in communities and that black women and girls, like black men and boys, experience higher rates of police violence.
Psaki then said the Biden administration’s “focus is on working to address systemic racism and implicit bias head on,” and then she blathered about the need for legislation to reform police.
Of course, that legislation is already on offer. Tim Scott, the Republican senator from South Carolina, offered it three years ago. Democrats won’t touch it because to do so would give Scott, who is black, the credibility from having brought a set of measures that might help to alleviate some of the problems in uniformly Democrat areas.
This is not to guarantee that Scott’s package would solve much, but it shows how unserious the Biden administration is in solving this problem.
Because the fresh outrage in Columbus isn’t a coincidence at all. It was entirely predictable, for two obvious reasons.
First, the United States is a very big country, with 330 million people in it, and we’re in the middle of an urban crime wave a lot like we saw in the 1970s. That means lots of 911 calls and lots of kinetic incidents like the one Nicholas Reardon arrived at on Tuesday in Columbus. Statistically, you could easily have a Ma’Khia Bryant episode every single day as our cities implode under the weight of the current criminal renaissance.
And second, thanks to Crump and people like him, we now have a multimillion-dollar industry extant that requires George Floyds and Ma’Khia Bryants to fuel it. That industry now understands that it can intimidate politicians and now, perhaps, jurors, into forking over cash rewards and criminal-justice remedies for police shootings and similar incidents, and that those incidents can create political power where it didn’t previously exist.
Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the United States House of Representatives, made that clear Tuesday when she offered one of the more astounding, counterfactual, and bizarre statements ever given by an American politician. “Thank you George Floyd for sacrificing your life for justice,” she said. “Because of you and because of thousands, millions of people around the world who came out for justice, your name will always be synonymous for justice.”
The takeaway from this? Incidents like the one involving Nicholas Reardon and Ma’Khia Bryant are going to become more and more common, and then they’ll gradually cease to happen at all.
The former will occur because the outrage industry will fuel them. After all, cui bono? Who benefits politically from deadly streets in urban areas? Who gets paid? Who turns out votes and agglomerates political power as a result?
As to the latter, it’s going to become quite clear to police officers that it isn’t worth it to save people as Officer Reardon did for the woman in pink. Eventually the cops will stop off at a Wendy’s or a Chipotle on the way to a 911 call and simply roll the yellow tape around the crime scene well after it’s over. It’s a lot safer to write the report after the fact.
Or to find some other way to make a living — or someplace other than America’s urban hellscapes to serve in law enforcement.