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Columbus police shooting prompts media pundits to offer 'TV-inspired nonsense' on police tactics

The police shooting of Black teenager Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio, this week prompted discredited media takes that the officer could have aimed at her limbs or even fired in the air rather than use lethal force.

A Columbus policeman shot 16-year-old Bryant four times on Tuesday while she attacked another woman, according to bodycam footage of the incident. The woman in pink she was attacking in the video confirmed afterward the police acted because Bryant was wielding a knife.

In spite of the video showing the woman about to be stabbed, liberal co-host of “the-view” target=”_blank”>The View< why the officer who killed Bryant didn’t “shoot the gun in the air.”


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“He said the cop had no choice … and my feeling is I don’t know if that’s true or not,” Behar said. “I really can’t figure it out anymore … I’ve looked at the tape and I still can’t figure it out. Shoot the gun in the air, warning, tase a person, shoot them in the leg, shoot them in the behind. Stop them somehow. But if the only solution is to kill a teenager, there’s something wrong with this.”

Earlier in the week, a reporter asked Columbus Police Chief Michael Woods whether an officer could shoot a limb rather than to kill.

“Can an officer shoot the leg, can they shoot somewhere that would not result in a fatal wound?” asked the unidentified reporter, noting that observers have asked the same question.

“We don’t train to shoot the leg because that’s a small target,” Woods said. “We train to shoot center mass, what is available to stop that threat … There was a deadly force threat that was going on, so the officer is trained to shoot center mass.”


Veteran gun reporter Stephen Gutowski told Fox News the canard of aiming for the leg was “TV-inspired nonsense,” and officers are trained to shoot at center mass during life-or-death situations because it diminishes the likelihood of missing.

“Because gunshot wounds have a high chance of being deadly, shooting at someone is only ever justified if the shooter or someone nearby is facing an imminent deadly threat,” he said in an email. “If you are facing a deadly threat, you want to shoot at an area you are most likely to actually hit the assailant and stop them. That was clearly the case in this incident since the officer was confronting an imminent threat of a stabbing against a young woman.”

Gutowski launched a new website on Monday, The Reload, which is dedicated to gun journalism.

Journalist Emily Miller, who has covered police shootings as a local TV reporter published a Substack post about why police officers don’t aim for extremities like the legs.

“It’s very difficult to shoot a moving target — a person who can go in any direction– so you aim at center mass (the torso) because it’s the biggest part of the body and easiest to hit. This ensures that internal organs are hit and the person stops coming at you or the victim,” she wrote. “Center mass also helps to decrease the chance that missed rounds – which are likely in a high stress situation —  hit a bystander.”

CNN’s Brianna Keilar and former MSNBC personality Touré Neblett suggested this week the officer should not have fired at Bryant because of the proximity of the girl in the pink sweatsuit, seemingly ignoring that she was nearly the victim of a fatal attack herself.

Misguided advice to law enforcement on how to discharge their weapons rises to the White House. During his 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden repeatedly said officers could be trained to shoot suspects in the leg rather than shoot to kill.

Speaking on “Fox & Friends” Friday, Fraternal Order of Police national VP Joe Gamaldi said Behar and others are offering opinions in a “reckless” manner without knowing the facts. 

“Saying cops should be firing off warning shots when that’s prohibited by every agency and flies in the laws of physics? What goes up must come down. You have people weighing in on these issues that aren’t doing their research. They’re talking about being able to karate chop the knife away or roundhouse kick it. This is ridiculous crap that isn’t grounded in facts,” he said. 

Fox News’ Cortney O’Brien contributed to this report.

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