- Ohio’s attorney general is referring Ma’Khia Bryant’s killing to a local prosecutor.
- A Columbus officer shot Bryant in April after she was seen lunging at a woman with what they said was a knife.
- The state Bureau of Investigation reviewed the case and is providing its report to the Franklin County prosecutor.
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Ohio’s attorney general announced Wednesday that the office is referring the April police killing of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant to the Franklin County prosecutor.
Columbus police officer Nicholas Reardon shot Bryant four times outside her foster home. Police body camera footage released after her death showed Bryant swung what police said was a knife at a woman after having pushed a different woman to the ground.
The case was reviewed by the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, an agency that investigates potential crimes involving law enforcement.
Over the last two and a half months, investigators reviewed crime scene evidence, interviewed 15 civilian witnesses and three officers, reviewed all camera footage and other audio and cellphone evidence from the incident, according to the office of Attorney General Dave Yost.
The BCI doesn’t determine whether an officer’s actions were lawful. Instead, when it completes an investigation it provides the local prosecutor with the report so they can make their own determination, according to the office.
Bryant’s family blamed foster care for her death
Deja Torrence, Bryant’s cousin, previously told Insider that the teenager had complained about issues at her foster home before her shooting.
Torrence, who was acting as a spokesperson for Bryant’s biological family, said the conflict that resulted in her death occurred when two women in their 20s showed up at the foster home, leading Bryant to pick up a kitchen knife.
Angela Moore, Bryant’s foster mother, has told the media that she was at work at the time of the shooting. She said that two of her previous foster children went to the home to celebrate a birthday and were fighting with Bryant over chores before she was fatally shot.
Foster care experts have told Insider that foster parents shouldn’t leave children in their care – even teenagers – at home without their supervision.