April 2021

Could officer have done more to de-escalate situation that led to 16-year-old’s death?

Courtesy of ABC6
By Tom Bosco
April 22, 2021

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) — Nearly everyone agrees that the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old girl by Columbus Police on Tuesday was a tragedy. But there’s not much agreement on whether police could or should have handled the situation differently.

Police body camera footage shows Officer Nicolas Reardon had just seconds after he got out of his cruiser on Legion Lane before he fired his weapon, just split seconds to decide to use deadly force.

“Police have to look at our kids differently,” she said. “I’m emotional, but this was a baby, this was not an adult. This was a baby that was shot.”

But Phil Stinson; a former police officer, lawyer, and professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University; said there was no time for Reardon to try de-escalation.

“She was swinging the knife, she was trying to stab someone,” Stinson said. “The officer had to make a split second decision to deploy his firearm and use deadly force to stop the threat.”

But Hightower wants to see police officers trained differently.

Hightower said there must be a way to solve the situation without the teen ending up dead.

“If you go and talk to any school teacher, principal on many occasions, they stop fights with knives, and there are kids that walk away, not stabbed,” she said. “Those kinds of situations happen in schools, all the time and teachers are able to de-escalate.”

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