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Ma’Khia Bryant’s funeral filled with appeals to protect black girls

“She was a child who had so much love in her heart,” her cousin Don Bryant said at his funeral on Friday. “A smart, capable girl who deserves to fulfill all her hopes and dreams in this world.”

Ma’Khia, 16, died on April 20 while meeting a police officer in Columbus, Ohio, in her foster home. Breonna Taylor’s mother, elected officials and clergy joined her family on Friday to mourn her passing and call for systemic justice.

“Say her name to remember the loving person she was,” Don Bryant said on behalf of the family. “Say her name to remind yourself that change doesn’t happen just by offering words or talking about it.”

“What are you doing to make sure that he will not be taken from us again from Ma’Khias?” he added.

Friday’s service marked at least the third funeral that the First Church of God has organized for families of blacks killed by police. The church had hosted funerals for Andre Hill, 47, in January and Casey Goodson Jr., 23, in December.

Ma’Khia’s death came about 30 minutes before the verdict was delivered in the trial of the former Minneapolis cop who knelt around George Floyd’s neck.

Some of her family were dressed in blue – Ma’Khia’s favorite color – while ushers wore large blue roses and blue flowers resting on her coffin.

Emmanuel Anthony, the principal of the Academy for Urban Scholars high school who was the principal of Ma’Khia middle school, presented Ma’Khia’s mother with an honorary high school diploma for her daughter.

“Did you know Ma’Khia liked having good grades in school?” That she was a very intelligent young girl? said his cousin Don Bryant.

She was attending Grade 11 and was on the Honor Roll, according to her obituary. She had a great sense of humor, always wanted to make everyone laugh and loved to cook.

“My baby was an innocent, talented, bubbly and loving teenager,” her mother, Paula Bryant, told reporters earlier this week.

One of her aunts told reporters on Wednesday that Ma’Khia had a “vibrant personality” and her grandmother, Jeanene Hammonds, recalled how Ma’Khia sang while they drove.

Earlier this week, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and city attorney Zach Klein sent a letter to the US Department of Justice asking the agency to review the practices of the city’s police department, CNN affiliate WBNS reported.
“We believe this will help create an environment that fosters trust between residents and police – and ultimately lead to a safer Columbus for everyone,” Ginther said of the letter. in a tweet.
Ma’Khia Bryant’s funeral filled with appeals to protect black girls

Many systems failed to protect her, family lawyer says

Ma’Khia was with a foster family at the house where the shooting took place.

Angela Moore, the woman who looked after Ma’Khia in foster care, said two of her former foster children were visiting to celebrate her birthday when the young women and Ma’Khia started arguing over the matter. of a messy house and an unmade bed. The argument led to a brawl that ended with the police shooting.

Ma’Khia Bryant’s funeral filled with appeals to protect black girls

Police body camera video of the shooting shows officers exiting their car and seeing Ma’Khia pounce on another young woman with a knife outside the house. Columbus officials have urged residents to wait for the facts in the investigation.

Authorities have identified the officer who fired the shots as Nicholas Reardon, who was hired in December 2019. The officer is not on duty on the street pending an investigation.

The girl’s family lawyer said Wednesday that “the many systems responsible for protecting Ma’Khia had failed him.”

Franklin County Children’s Services said Bryant was a foster child in the county’s care, CNN reported.

“Without these failures, Ma’Khia Bryant would still be with us today,” lawyer Michelle Martin said in a statement.

Martin told reporters on Wednesday that she intends to investigate why the officer “chose deadly force” and any agencies that had a chance to prevent the girl’s death.

“If you’re not mad at why this happened, if you aren’t mad at why it keeps happening, then you really are the problem,” Martin said. .

“We have to protect our children, they are our core. We have to do more, Ma’Khia deserves more,” she said. “Ma’Khia deserves justice.”

CNN’s Melissa Alonso and Elliot McLaughlin contributed to this report.


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