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Coroner Rules Death Of Ma'Kiah Bryant By Columbus Police Officer A Homicide

Aug 16, 2021

A man adjusts a sign near a memorial at the scene in the Bryant was fatally shot by police on April 20, 2021.
Credit Farnoush Amiri / Associated Press

The Franklin County coroner Monday released autopsy results in the case of a 16-year-old girl shot and killed by police earlier this year.

Ma’Kiah Bryant was shot in April by Columbus police officer Nicholas Reardon as she swung a knife at a young woman, just seconds after pushing another woman to the ground. Bryant was Black and Reardon is white. Police were responding to a 911 call made from Bryant’s foster home about a group of girls threatening to stab members of the household.

Bryant was shot four times and died from her injuries, according to the report from the office of Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz, confirming earlier accounts from police.

The coroner listed the cause of death as a homicide — a medical determination used in cases where someone has died at someone else’s hand, but not a legal finding. It doesn’t imply criminal intent.

The Columbus Division of Police moved quickly to release body camera footage following the shooting.  Footage from Reardon and other officers shows Bryant holding what appears to be a kitchen knife while lunging at another person.  It also shows Reardon firing his gun four times before Bryant falls to the ground. 

In early July, Ohio Attorney General David Yost said the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation has passed the case on to the Franklin County Prosecutors’ Office and a grand jury will decide on whether to charge Reardon.

Bryant’s killing further heightened tensions in Columbus over fatal police shootings of Black people, and also shone a light on the state’s foster care system.