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Jonathan Turley hits back at inflammatory media coverage of Ma’Khia Bryant shooting after officer’s acquittal


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In April 2021, Black Columbus, Ohio teenager Ma’Khia Bryant was shot and killed by a white police officer after she lunged at another black teenager with a knife. Almost a year later, a grand jury exonerated officer Nicholas Reardon of any criminal wrongdoing.

At the time, the police officer involved in the shooting sparked an immediate media outcry, accusations of racism and even murder.

Body camera footage showed Columbus teenager Ma’ Khia Bryant wielding a knife aimed at another teenager.
(Columbus Police Department)

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University and defense attorney, criticized the media for their reckless and irresponsible stance on the case, in a blog post on Monday.

“I wrote earlier that I believe the shooting was justified under departmental rules and case law. Nonetheless, the shooting of the teenager was decried as a murder in the media,” Turley wrote.

He specifically called out “The View” co-host Joy Behar, NPR and The Daily Beast for reciting incorrect information and stoking tensions around the case.

“[J]oy Behar insisted that when the officer saw Bryant moving to stab another girl, he should have fired in the air. The grand jury clearly disagreed and refused to indict Officer Nicholas Reardon. At the time of the shooting, various media like NPR published misleading accounts of the shooting, which fueled anger in the city. (NPR later corrected their original story),” he wrote.

Some outlets omitted key information from their reports that ended up stoking racial tensions and presenting a false narrative of police brutality.

NBC News misleadingly edited out a revealing part of the 9-1-1 call, pleading with the police to intervene, as Nicholas Fondacaro of NewsBusters caught.

‘NBC NIGHTLY NEWS’ UNDER FIRE FOR EDITING KEY PART OF 911 CALL BEFORE MA’KHIA BRYANT SHOT

The Huffington Post published a misleading video that did not mention that Bryant pushed another woman to the ground and lunged at another with a knife when police arrived at the scene.

The New York Times and Washington Post did not inform readers that Bryant was armed with a knife, in tweets sent by major news outlets. The Times also originally edited a false statement made by civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, in their editorial staff.

MSNBC host Joy Reid called the shooting a “murder” on her show “The ReidOut.” His guest, Rutgers University associate professor Brittney Cooper, played down Bryant’s violent actions, saying the 16-year-old was “having a bad day.”

In response to the fatal shooting, MSNBC commentator Jason Johnson on “The 11th Hour” called for the total abolition of the police.

In a statement to Fox News Digital, Turley called the media’s record of failing to report these sensitive cases accurately and responsibly as “deeply disturbing.”

“The media’s record of such cases remains deeply troubling. Time and time again, the media has framed cases to fit a narrative rather than the facts. By the time a jury acquits a Kyle Rittenhouse or a grand jury refuses to indict a Nicholas Reardon, the damage has been done by fueling divisions in the country. The fact is that stories that generate rage also generate ratings and readers. These false stories come from journalists , no commentators. The rise of advocacy journalism has blurred that line to a dangerous degree,” Turley said.

LEFT MEDIA PUBLISHES ‘DELIBERATELY MISLEADING’ VIDEOS OF COLUMBUS SHOOTING

Body camera footage from Constable Reardon shows that as soon as the police arrived, a young black woman tackled another black woman to the ground with what appeared to be a knife in her hand. The girl, Bryant, is then seen lunging at another woman while raising the knife in the air, when the officer opened fire.

The White House weighed in on the fatal police shooting at the time. White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the shooting “tragic” and linked it to “systemic racism.”

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