Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings from Florida, who was a former Orlando police chief, said on April 25 that the officer who fatally shot Ma’Khia Bryant “responded as he was trained to do.”
Demings said in an interview with CBS News’ Face the Nation that based on the information she has seen so far, Officer Nicholas Reardon appeared to had “responded as he was trained to do with the main thought of preventing a tragedy and a loss of life of the person who was about to be assaulted.”
In a body camera footage publicly released right after Bryant was killed last April 20, Reardon can be seen firing four shots at Bryant, a Black 16-year-old who swung a knife at another young woman.
“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.
The Columbus, Ohio shooting occurred before a jury convicted former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin of murder and manslaughter for the killing of George Floyd, a Black man.
Demings called for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a police reform bill that would restrain officers from using excessive force, to be approved in the Senate, describing it as “a major step in the right direction” while acknowledging that it is “not perfect.”
“Let’s get this done. We need it. The American people need it,” Demings said.
Demings also said that when she spoke to officers, she would remind them to use their training and compassion.
“Always stand on the right side, speak up and be professional, and do the job that you’re paid to do,” Demings said.
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