Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), the former chief of police in Orlando came to the defense of another police officer while her fellow Democrats have attacked the Columbus police officer whoin Ohio last week, saying it appears based on the body camera footage released showed that the officer responded in accordance with his police training as the teen was just seconds away from stabbing another girl if they had failed to act.
In an interview with CBS News “Face the Nation” Sunday, Demings, reflected with host John Dickerson on her time as a patrol officer when asked about the tragic police shooting in Columbus, Ohio. Demings noted how police officers make very “tough” and difficult “split-second decisions,” and based on the police body camera video, it indicated that Columbus Officer Nicholas Reardon was acting properly “with the main thought of preventing a tragedy and a loss of life of the person.”
“I also was a patrol officer who was out there on the street having to make those split-second decisions,” Demings said. “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.”
“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,” Demings added.
Bryant was shot and killed by Reardon in Columbus, Ohio, last Tuesday after responding to numerous 911 calls made requesting law enforcement assistance during an altercation with two other girls. Based on the police body camera footage released to the public, Reardon opened fire as Bryant was seen lunging at one of the girls with a knife while arriving at the scene.
The shooting incident occurred just moments before a jury in Minneapolis rendered its guilty verdict against police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd. The guilty verdict has renewed calls in Congress to pass police reform measures with Democrats urging the passing of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The Democratic police reform legislation that has no GOP input aims to ban chokeholds and end qualified immunity for police officers, making it easier to pursue claims of police misconduct while personally hold police liable for constitutional violations.
Demings, who became nationally known after named one of the House Democratic impeachment managers during former president Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in 2020, urged Americans not to make the “sad moment” over the fatal shooting as reason to continue demonizing police officers.
“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,” Demings said
The Florida lawmaker also hopes her colleagues on both sides of the aisles won’t “make this a political issue” when comes time to passing the police reform act, despite saying it is “not perfect” in order to “meet the moment.”
“But my main advice would be let’s don’t make this a political issue,” Demings said. “This is such a time. 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.”
“I am hoping that Senator Scott will lead his delegation, if you will, or the Republican members in the Senate to sit down at the table, finish the negotiations and let’s get this done. 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,” she added.