During a visit to CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday (April 15), Florida Rep. Val Demings gave insight on the video footage that captured an Ohio police officer fatally shooting a Black teenage girl last week.
Bodycam footage showed an officer, later identified as officer Nicholas Reardon, responding to a call about a fight outside involving 15-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in front of her home. During the altercation, the officer fired four shots after Bryant, appearing to hold a knife, attempted to lunge at another girl.
According to Business Insider, Demings stated 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.”
Years before taking public office, the congresswoman held several positions in law enforcement, including a patrol officer, before serving as police chief in Orlando, Fla. She also worked with foster children as a social worker, noting the shooting as a “sad moment” for her.
Continuing to weigh in with her expertise, she described the difficulties officers face while on duty and the “split-second decisions” made in the heat of an incident.
“I also was a patrol officer who was out there on the street having to make those split-second decisions. You know, now 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.
Demings currently serves as a member of the House Judiciary, Homeland Security, Intelligence committees. Her latest work is to push the George Floyd Justice in Policing act to the Senate.
“Let’s get this done. [The] George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is not perfect, but it is a major step in the right direction. Let’s get this done. We need it. The American people need it,” Demings said.