Rep. Val Demings says she believes the police officer who fatally shot 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant last week was acting in accordance with his training, as body camera footage appears to show the teen was about to stab another girl.
Demings (D-Fla.), the former chief of police in Orlando, made the comments to CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday after being asked about the fatal police shooting in Columbus, Ohio.
“I also was a patrol officer who was out there on the street having to make those split-second decisions,” the Florida lawmaker explained. “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.”
“But the limited information that I know in viewing the video, it appears that the officer 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,” she continued.
Demings, who became nationally known as one of the House Democrats’ impeachment managers during the first impeachment of President Donald Trump, went on to call Bryant’s death “a sad moment” for her, as she had previously worked with foster children as a social worker.
Bryant was shot after police were called for help during an altercation with two other girls, her cousin Deja Torrence told Insider.
A police officer opened fire as she was seen lunging at one of the girls with a knife as they arrived, police body camera footage showed.
Nicholas Reardon, the officer who killed Bryant, has been assigned to desk duty while authorities probe the shooting.
Demings, who was also on President Biden’s shortlist for vice president, came to Reardon’s defense as some on the left have attacked the officer over his conduct.