Say her name. That’s what the Black Lives Matter people say about black women who have been the victims of police violence. Well, I’m going to say a young woman’s name. However, I’m not going to say the one the activists might want me to.
Tionna Bonner. That’s her name. Who was she? She was the woman in the pink track suit who was almost stabbed April 20 by 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio. Bryant allegedly had her pinned against a car and was swinging her hand back in a stabbing motion with a large knife in her hand when she was allegedly shot four times by Columbus Police Officer Nicholas Reardon.
Bryant died a short time later. Bryant and Bonner were black while Reardon was white.
In this case, two videos have emerged of the incident. In the first, shot from Reardon’s body camera, Bryant is seen rushing past him to slam Bonner against the car. The knife is clearly visible in her right hand.
The second video was shot by a security camera at a home across the street. Some sort of altercation is taking place in front of a foster home when Reardon pulled up in his patrol car. Bryant can be seen knocking another girl to the ground and charging at Bonner. Reardon tried to grab her and restrain her, but she eluded him and went after Bonner. She was shot as she drew back her arm, apparently trying to stab Bonner.
All this took place in just 11 seconds.
Neighbors who have seen these videos have said they now believe Reardon had no other option. These include neighbors who had initially been critical of the shooting.
Reardon had to make a split-second decision and it cost a 16-year-old girl her life. Given all we know and can see on the videos, maybe we should give Reardon something rarely given to police officers these days: the benefit of the doubt.
It’s also important to remember that Bonner might not be alive today if Reardon hadn’t done what he did.
Of course, the activists are having nothing of this. The police killed a Black child! They just shot her down like she was nothing! They wouldn’t have done that if she were white. They shouldn’t have used deadly force against a child. The officer should’ve tried to deescalate the situation, as they would’ve done if the people had been white. He should’ve used his Taser, or called for Bryant to drop the knife. He would’ve done those if she were white. This is part of systemic racism that sees Black women and girls as threats, and the police have no regard for their lives.
Please note they are saying these things about an incident that was over in 11 seconds.
I sometimes get the feeling that Black Lives Matter only cares about those Black lives taken by the police.
If they really want to get to what caused this incident, the activists and others need to look into the foster care system in Columbus and Franklin County, Ohio. WBNS-TV in Columbus is reporting the police were called to that foster home 10 times in recent months. Clearly, there was a problem here.
It appears to me the foster care system failed Bryant long before she was shot by the police. Perhaps the activists should criticize this system and call for investigations at least as much as they are criticizing the police.
It’s true the Columbus Division of Police has been accused of using excessive force against Black residents, and there have been claims of unjustified police shootings of Blacks. These investigations should continue, and, if proven true, changes in the department must be put into effect.
Black Lives Matter might want to broaden their approach to institutions other than the police that have failed Black Americans. It’s clear there were many failures in Bryant’s life prior to the April 20 incident. Her death at the hands of a police officer was just the culmination of those failings.