The killing of Ma’Khia Bryant at the hands of a police officer is sparking a huge debate.

The case isn’t as clear-cut as George Floyd’s, yet many people say you still have to look at it as part of systemic racism in policing.

A comment by Don Lemon in particular is getting a lot of attention. In a conversation with Chris Cuomo, the CNN anchor said:

“When [police] roll up on the scene, they see people tussling around, someone has a knife and their job is to protect and serve every life on that scene. And if they see someone who is in the process of taking a life, what is that decision, what decision do they have to make. And I know people say you can do this, do that. Tasers don’t work the way guns work… not at that distance. Tasers don’t always connect…”

On The View today Sunny Hostin called Lemon a “dear friend,” but said he was “wrong here.”

“Why is deadly force always the first order of business and especially the first order of business when it comes to black and brown people in this country? When is okay and why is ok? We shouldn’t live in a country quite frankly where it’s acceptable for the police to shoot a 16-year-old four times in the chest over a fight. It goes from zero to execution very, very quickly when there is a black or brown person involved. That is just the truth.”

The AP explains, “Columbus policy allows officers to use deadly force, such as a gun, when faced with someone with a weapon or employing another form of deadly force. That could be someone aiming a gun at the officer or at a third person in a confrontation witnessed by the officer.”

Interim Columbus Police Chief Michael Woods said, “If there’s not deadly force being perpetrated on someone else at that time, an officer may have the opportunity to have cover, distance and time to use a Taser. But if those things aren’t present, and there is an active assault going on in which someone could lose their life, the officer can use their firearm to protect that third person.”

The Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther added, “We know based on this footage the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community.”

Just because he could use deadly force in this situation, questions remain about whether there were forms of de-escalation he could have used.


No matter what side of this debate you may be on, most people can agree this is a discussion that needs to occur in order to bring about change. Don Lemon put it this way:

“If we’re going to discuss this case, we need to be honest and use our common sense. We cannot have a double standard. We have to acknowledge that police have jobs to do.

With people dying every day, we’ve got to find a pathway to justice. A road map to take this country to where we need to be. To liberty and justice for all.”

Watch more of Lemon’s thoughts above.