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Demings: Officer in Ma'Khia Bryant's death appears to have 'responded as he was trained to do'

Florida Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Upbeat jobs data, relaxed COVID-19 restrictions offer rosier US picture Democrats cool on Crist's latest bid for Florida governor Florida Democrats' midterm fantasy faceoff: DeSantis vs. Demings MORE (D) on Sunday said she thought the officer who fatally shot Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio “responded as he was trained to do,” based on the information she has seen so far.

Demings told host John Dickerson on CBS's "Face the Nation" that when she was police chief in Orlando, Florida, she prayed that her officers would respond as they are trained to do. She said Bryant’s death was a “sad moment” for her, noting she had previously worked with foster children like Bryant as a social worker.

“But I also was a patrol officer who was out there on the street having to make those split-second decisions. You know, now everybody has the benefit of slowing the video down and seizing the perfect moment. The officer on the street does not have that ability. He or she has to make those split-second decisions, and they're tough,” Demings said. 

“But the limited information that I know in viewing the video — it appears that the officer responded as he was trained to do with the main thought of preventing a tragedy and loss of life of the person who was about to be assaulted.”

The officer who fatally shot Bryant was identified last week as officer Nicholas Reardon, who joined the department in 2019.

Dickerson also asked Demings how she would advise her colleagues in Congress to respond to officer-involved shootings like the one that killed Bryant.

"Let's don't make this a political issue. When we look historically, throughout our history, even though there's always been too strong political parties, they always seem in most instances to be able to lay down their political difference and rise to meet that significant moment," Demings said.

During the interview, Demings also called for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which passed the House in March, to be approved in the Senate.

"Let's get this done. [The] George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is not perfect, but it is a major step in the right direction. Let's get this done. We need it. The American people need it," Demings said.