Lost to the System: Ma’Khia Bryant


Ren Lloyd

After almost a year following her death, the jury finally made a decision regarding the Ma’Khia Bryant trial. The jury decided not to accuse Officer Nick Reardon of murdering the 16 year old girl, regardless of the released bodycamera footage. Bryant sadly became another young black teen who did not receive justice for police brutality.

Ren Lloyd, Reporter

In 2021, a police officer shot 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant dead in front of her home. On April 20 Officer Nick Reardon took this innocent child’s life with proof on his body cam. As of March 11, authorities declined to indict Reardon for the death of Bryant. 

23 days prior to Bryant’s murder, Ma’Khia’s younger sister, Ja’Niah Bryant called the police saying that she no longer wanted to live in her current foster home. On the day of her Ma’Khia’s murder, her sister called the police again to inform authorities that other girls in the foster home threatened her and her older sister. Reardon arrived at the scene of the altercation between Bryant and another woman outside of Bryant’s Ohio foster home. As Reardon exited his vehicle, Bryant charged at the other woman with a steak knife in hand. Released footage from Reardon’s body camera shows Bryant reaching back with the knife with the other unidentified woman pinned to a car. The footage then shows Officer Reardon shooting Ma’Khia Bryant four times. Bryant later died at the hospital surrounded by her distraught family. 

Due to negligence, Ma’Khia and Ja’Niah floated from foster home to foster home. After her removal from her mother’s care in 2018, she and her siblings went to live with their grandmother Jeanene Hammonds. However, the state took them away after 6 months due to their grandmother’s inability to supply their needs. The Bryant sisters then went through five foster home placements over the span of two years. 

This year on March 11 the jury decided to not indict Officer Reardon for killing Ma’Khia Bryant. Authorities decided that Reardon simply carried out his job and acted correctly regarding the situation. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation took the task of investigating this tragic event. The Bureau assigned Prosecutors H. Tim Merkle and Gary Shroyer to the case because Tyack’s office serves as legal counsel for Franklin County Children’s Services. Franklin County Children’s and Youth Services assures the safety and well-being of children who faced abuse from the ages of birth to 18 years old such as Ma’Khia and her siblings. 

“He had to act according to his training, and in my view, preliminarily, he did so appropriately and effectively and tragically,” Bowling Green State criminologist Philip M. Stinson said.

Regardless of the situation, Officer Reardon took Bryant’s life. The 16-year-old adolescent became consumed by the foster care system and lost the opportunity to live a normal childhood. Another young black teen did not receive the justice due to the corrupt American Criminal Justice System.