By Daniel Payne
Ajournalist and CNN analyst on Friday advanced the controversial claim that an Ohio police officer responding to a knife-wielding teenager should have shot her “in the leg” and should have considered not even using his gun to address the situation.
April Ryan, a reporter with the Grio, made the argument—a common one among police critics—on Friday’s edition of HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher. The show’s panel was discussing in part the recent police-involved shooting of 16-year-old Ohio resident Ma’Khia Bryant, who was attempting to stab several other teenagers with a large butcher knife when a responding officer shot and killed her.
“He could have saved her,” Ryan claimed during the discussion. “He could’ve shot her in the leg.”
Advocates of police reform have regularly asserted that police officers should be trained to shoot potentially deadly assailants somewhere other than “center mass,” claiming that a bullet to the leg or the arm could be effective at de-escalating such situations.
In a town hall discussion last October, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden advanced a similar argument, claiming police should “shoot [criminals] in the leg” when confronted with a threat.
Law enforcement advocates have regularly slammed such proposals. “We shoot to stop the threat. You could be endangering the public by shooting and missing,” one police official told Just the News last year, while another noted that “it takes some really special equipment and a real good marksman to disable someone by shooting them in the leg.”
Ryan during the discussion suggested that a gun might not have even been necessary during the Ohio knife incident
“[The officer] could have de-escalated in a different way,” she asserted. “He didn’t even have to use a bullet. He could have done something differently.”