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'Black community is emotionally exhausted': Columbus public safety director describes impact of Ma'Khia Bryant's death

Ned Pettus Jr., the director for the Columbus Department of Public Safety, called the shooting an unspeakable tragedy for everyone involved.
Credit: Don Bryant

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ned Pettus Jr., the director for the Columbus Department of Public Safety, spoke about the fatal Columbus police shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant in a YouTube video on Friday.

Bryant was shot by Columbus police officer Nicholas Reardon on Tuesday. 

Bodycam video appears to show Bryant attempting to stab a woman with a knife before Reardon shoots her.

In the YouTube video, Pettus called the shooting an unspeakable tragedy for everyone involved.

While he said the investigation is focused on finding the facts of the shooting, Pettus said the community has to focus on the feelings and pain brought on by Bryant’s death.

“We have to recognize that to our Black friends and neighbors, this is yet another grievous, emotional wound on top of so many that have preceded it,” Pettus said. “Our Black community is emotionally exhausted.”

Pettus said while it is one thing to intellectually process what was shown on Reardon’s body camera video, it does nothing to ease the pain of Bryant’s family or the Black community.

“I watched those videos and my heart broke. Ma’Khia Bryant could have been one of my grandchildren,” Pettus said.

Pettus is asking people to have compassion for their neighbors and the community in the wake of Bryant’s death.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is handling the investigation into the shooting. 

"Fast facts cannot come at the expense of complete, accurate facts. But while we push for answers and transparency and accountability, we can’t lose sight of the history of trauma and pain in our black community. We have to face that and work to heal it," Pettus said.

You can watch Pettus' full video below.