Ohio Attorney General David Yost revealed state police officials completed their investigation of Ma’Khia Bryant‘s death, a 16-year-old girl who was fatally shot by a Columbus officer on the same day a jury convicted George Floyd‘s killer Derek Chauvin of murder.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation led the probe and shared their findings with two special prosecutors who will review the findings and present the case before a grand jury. The grand jury will then decide if there is enough evidence to indict Columbus Police Officer Nicholas Reardon for Bryant’s death.
“There is not presently a timeline available for when these matters will go before” Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Gary Tyack said in a released statement.
From the beginning of the investigation, Ma’Khia’s family expressed concerns and Wednesday’s news proved no different. After Yost’s announcement, Bryant’s grandmother, sister, and attorney held a news conference outside Columbus City Hall, where they shared sentiment that the investigation was incomplete.
“It was not thorough enough for me because they did not interview me that night,” Jeanene Hammonds, Ma’Khia’s grandmother said. Hammonds maintains that she was present on April 20, the night of the shooting.
Hammond also claims she was detained and threatened with a felony charge on April 20, but was not interviewed about the case. Hammond also told reporters that she received a letter from the BCI stating that they could not interview her because they were unable to locate her phone number. She said it was interesting that news outlets could track her down, but not criminal investigators.
“I knew what happened on the evening of the incident. And that is what I was going to discuss with them before a videotape got out making my granddaughter look like she was a monster,” Hammond said.
“That would help me to heal. If I had been given that opportunity that night I would be in a better position today,” Hammond continued.
“It’s kind of hard to take in because I feel like with everybody is coming to us. They all look at us differently, and they have a lot of questions and it’s kind of hard for me to grieve,” said Ma’Khia’s 16-year-old sister Ja’Naiha.
“I appreciate the leadership in Ohio for making sure we stay focused and holding those accountable that should be held accountable,” said family attorney Michelle Martin.
“This investigation cannot be reduced to just a few moments and a few seconds prior to Ma’Khia’s death. But we must consider the entirety of the situation,” said Martin.
“Ma’Khia’s life as we all know was taken far too soon. And we must do everything we can to make sure it is not swept under the rug.”
Martin and Ma’Khia’s family support a probe into Franklin County’s Children Services as Ma’Khia was under foster care when she was killed.
Ma’Khia was shot and killed on April 20 when Reardon responded to a call alleging there was a violent disturbance at a local residence in Columbus. Conflicting accounts claim Ma’Khia was one of the persons who called 911, claiming she was the target of physical threats on the day of the incident. Reardon’s camera captured Ma’Khia’s last moments, where she can be seen lunging towards a woman with a knife. Reardon fired four times after commanding Ma’Khia to put down the knife, striking Ma’Khia to the ground.
In addition to Bryant’s case, authorities also handed over findings related to the death of Andrew Teague, a 43-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by police in March after a high-speed chase and accident.
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