Val Demings: Officer who killed Ma’Khia Bryant ‘responded as trained’

Former chief Demings said she's hopeful the Senate will "meet this moment" and pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings of Florida said in an interview with Face the Nation that Columbus Police officer Nicholas Reardon “responded as trained” in fatally shooting 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. 

“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. “But the limited information that I know in viewing the video, it appears that the officer responded as he was trained to do with the main thought of preventing a tragedy and a loss of life of the person who was about to be assaulted.”

Florida Rep. Val Demings questions witnesses at a House Judiciary Committee hearing last summer on police brutality and racial profiling in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)

Demings was a former patrol officer and police chief in Orlando before entering Congress. Her experience in law enforcement has played a big part in her current role as a member of the House Judiciary, Homeland Security and Intelligence committees. 

In her work on the Judiciary Committee, Demings has been pushing for the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. She said she is “hopeful” that the Senate will “meet this moment” and pass it. 

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Demings said that while historically, the two political parties in the U.S. differ ideologically, in some moments, they have been able to put aside differences and rise to meet significant moments. 

“This is such a time,” she said. “And so I’m hoping that we will put politics aside and come together because we need to get this done. Our communities around the nation need it. Our good police officers need it, and quite frankly, the American people need it. We in Congress in both chambers can meet this moment as well if we have the political will to do so.”

Read More: Rep. Val Demings clashes with Jordan at hearing: ‘Did I strike a nerve?’

Last week, Demings verbally sparred with her Republican colleague, Jim Jordan of Ohio, when she accused him and other GOP leaders of using police officers as “pawns” and of supporting police officers “when it is politically convenient to do so.” 

In her Face the Nation interview, Demings added, “The overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers in this nation are good people, who go to work every day to protect those, protect and serve our communities. I remind them of that. Always stand on the right side, speak up and be professional, and do the job that you’re paid to do.” 

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