Family of Ohio teenage girl shot by police weighing legal action
The birth family of the Ohio teenage girl who was shot by police outside her foster home Tuesday is mulling a lawsuit, according to a report.
Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, was shot dead after calling police for help when two woman started fighting with her outside the Columbus home, her cousin Deja Torrence told Insider.
Police opened fire as she lunged at one of the women with a knife, according to dramatic footage released by police.
Nicholas Reardon, the officer who killed Bryant, has been assigned to desk duty while the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation looks into the shooting, the report said.
Torrence said her cousin was failed by the foster system, and her mother and Bryant’s biological mother are talking to a lawyer about pursuing unspecified legal action, according to the outlet.
“Someone has to be held accountable,” Torrence told Insider. “The family just doesn’t want this to be another senseless killing that goes under the rug and gets overlooked.”
Torrence reportedly said that Bryant was not a violent person, and must have believed her life was in danger. She told Insider that her family had talked to the teen about walking away from conflicts.
“We’re talking about a kid. She’s a kid. She’s 16 defending herself from 20-something-year-olds,” Torrence, 29, told the outlet.
“If I felt threatened, if I felt that a group of individuals was coming on my property where I lived to fight me, I would get whatever I needed to protect myself.”
Bryant’s cousin said that the teen had told her biological family that she was having issues at the state-supervised foster home, according to the report.
“So as a family, we’ve tried to kind of navigate that over the years,” Torrence reportedly said. “I haven’t been in contact with them, but I want people to know that we should be holding somebody accountable for the 16-year-old kid’s death.”
“They had custody of her, and so I just feel like the foster parents, and everyone in the foster system that was involved, failed her in that regard.”
The slain teen’s foster mother told CNN that Bryant and two of her former foster children were fighting about housework when the police arrived.
Bryant had planned on studying cosmetology and opening her own eyebrow-and-lash studio, her cousin reportedly said.
“That was her plan that was just tragically cut short,” Torrence told Insider.
“The family is just saddened, just to have all of those aspirations and those dreams to be cut short because of the simplest killing. The family is really hurting right now.”