Washington — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said Sunday he sees a “clear pathway” for police reforms following the fatal shooting of teenager Ma’Khia Bryant by a police officer in Columbus, Ohio, last week.
In an interview with “Face the Nation,” DeWine, a Republican, said there is much to learn from Bryant’s death last week and said his administration has put legislation before the state legislature that calls for more police training and funding for body cameras for officers.
“I think there’s a clear pathway in regard to police reform. I think there are things that we all can come together on, Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative,” DeWine said.
Bryant, 16, was shot and killed by officer Nicholas Reardon on Tuesday after he responded to 911 calls requesting law enforcement assistance. In body camera footage released to the public, Reardon is seen firing four shots at Bryant as she wielded a knife and swung it at another young woman pressed against the side of a parked car.
Bryant’s death, which occurred just before a Minneapolis jury rendered its guilty verdict against police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd, sparked new protests calling for an end to police brutality and racial injustice.
In addition to advocating for body cameras for officers, DeWine said law enforcement should be treated as other professions in the state such as doctors and nurses, which are overseen by a state licensing board that handle complaints, and said incidents involving excessive use of force by police should be automatically investigated by outside entities.
“These are common sense things that we can do, should not be controversial,” he said. “We can all get behind.”
DeWine said he understands both the feeling in the Black community in Ohio, where there is a disparity in the use of force against young Black men and young white men, but also recognizes that officers must make split-second decisions.
“They’ve got a tough job,” he said, adding that gap underscores the need for teaching officers implicit bias and how to defuse situations.