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Speaking on a Sunday morning talk show, Florida Rep. Val Demings said she thought the officer who fatally shot Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio “responded as he was trained to do.”
Appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation, Demings told host John Dickerson that her background as a police chief in Orlando, and her previous experience as a social worker who worked with foster children like Bryant, meant that she particularly understood this situation. Demings did note that the child’s death was a “sad moment” for her.
“But I also was a patrol officer who was out there on the street having to make those split-second decisions. You know, now 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 said.
Officer Nicholas Reardon is identified as shooting Bryant outside her home. Police released body camera footage which seems to show Bryant holding a knife and lunging toward multiple people before she was fatally shot. Reardon fired his weapon multiple times as Bryant struggled with another girl against a car. Reardon joined the force in 2019.
Demings said on the talk show, “When I served as a police chief, what I prayed for daily, was that my police officers would respond as they are trained to do,”
Demings also expressed that she wants to see the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which passed the House in March. The measure is yet to be approved by the Senate.
“Let’s get this done. [The] George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is not perfect, but it is a major step in the right direction. Let’s get this done. We need it. The American people need it.”