The officer-involved shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, OH, has dominated the news since occurring just after the Derek Chauvin verdict. As body-cam footage and another wide-angle view showed, Bryant had threatened to stab someone and then was in the process of doing so when an officer discharged his weapon four times, stopping the threat. The girl who was about to be possibly murdered was unarmed, standing against a car, holding a small dog.
Despite this being one of the clearest justified uses of police force I’ve ever witnessed, protests and demands for “reform” have permeated. In some cases, media figures have propagated nonsensical conspiracy theories in an attempt to stoke racial flames (see Joy Reid Delivers and Insanely Conspirtatorial and Dangerous Take on the Mi’Khia Bryant Shooting).
Now, the family of Ma’Khia Bryant, some of whom lied early on about the circumstances of the shooting, are joining the chorus.
DEMANDS FOR REFORM: The family of Ma'Khia Bryant is joining growing calls to re-evaluate police use-of-force policies after the 16-year-old was fatally shot by an officer. @TrevorLAult has the details. pic.twitter.com/f33AxgNFZY
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) April 25, 2021
While writing on this topic, I’m trying my best to be respectful. If I lost a child, I’d mourn them — regardless of what they were doing when they brought about their own demise. Still, it’s one thing to reside in peace to grieve. It’s another to join a political movement demanding “reform,” when there’s absolutely nothing to reform here. Things begin to smell like opportunism after a while, and this is especially true given Mi’Khia was in a foster home and not with her biological family.
The officer saved the life of an unarmed black girl in this case. That girl’s life mattered, too, and it was not the officer’s right to play Russian roulette (except, think of the revolver as having five of the six chambers loaded) with her well-being. There is basically nothing that could have been done except to use deadly force against the assailant. Had the officer tried anything else, including some of the dumb suggestions to fire in the air or try to cover 10+ feet in a second to “tackle” her while she has a knife, the other girl likely ends up dead or badly wounded. That would have been a dereliction of duty, in my opinion.
Given that, what exactly does “reform” mean here? That’s a question that no one seems to have an answer to, and biased news networks like ABC that ran the above segment aren’t even asking it. What reforms stop Mi’Khia Bryant from stabbing that girl in that split second, except using deadly force? What does her family actually want to be done here?
If they are going to join a political chorus and attach themselves to the Black Lives Matter movement, these are serious questions that deserve answers.