The family of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, who was shot and killed by an Ohio police officer Tuesday, is considering filing a lawsuit. The teen’s cousin, Deja Torrence, said the family feels “someone has to be held accountable.”
Bryant was shot and killed after calling the police for help when two women showed up at her foster home in Columbus to fight her. Body camera footage shows that Bryant was shot when police arrived at the scene after she swung at a woman with a knife.
Torrence told Insider that her mother and Bryant’s birth mother, Paula, want to take unspecified legal action. The family believes the teen was failed by the foster care system and maintains that Bryant was not a violent person. She says the family had previously spoken to Bryant about walking away from conflict and that she knew not to go near weapons unless her life was in danger.
“We’re talking about a kid. She’s a kid. She’s 16 defending herself from 20-something-year-olds,” Torrence said. “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 foster mom, Angela Moore, told CNN that the teen was arguing with two former foster children who were fighting about the house being messy. Moore was at work at the time of the shooting.
The officer involved, Nicholas Reardon, has been placed on desk duty. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is looking into the shooting.