Julia Maher ‘23
Since Derek Chauvin was charged with manslaughter, second-degree murder, and third-degree murder, there have been several Black lives lost at the hands of police brutality. Their names are Andrew Brown Jr., Isaiah Brown, and Ma’Khia Bryant, undoubtedly and sadly among others.
The most horrifyingly shocking of these murders is that of Ma’Khia Bryant. Columbus police shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant after a fight was occurring outside of Bryant’s foster home. Bryant had a knife in her hand and was actively moving toward other people at the scene. Immediately, the police officer shot Bryant four times and killed her instantly.
Although some people believe that the use of deadly force was justified, I truly believe that it wasn’t. The police officers could have restrained her in a manner that kept her alive and taken the weapon away from her. Furthermore, the murder occurred right when Derek Chauvin’s verdict was being read, which reveals a huge amount of hypocrisy and a completely broken justice and law enforcement system in the US. If police officers are truly that barbaric and disconnected from their own profession, then why should they be allowed to be police officers at all?
This incident also reveals a false stereotype that many people hold toward Black girls—children are often subjected to unjust adultification, which leads to many Black lives being lost every year. People tend to view Black girls as more threatening and aggressive than their white counterparts, based solely on their race (https://genderjusticeandopportunity.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/girlhood-interrupted.pdf). The way that Ma’Khia Bryant has been represented by people who oppose the BLM movement strips her of her humanity and does not consider how she could be a victim in her situation. I can only imagine that being a Black girl, especially in the foster care system, must be extremely difficult.
This situation was much more complicated than simply a Black girl having a knife in her hand. In order to prevent these murders from happening in the future, we need to have an increased sense of accountability in police officers, including implicit bias training, a more just foster care system, and a more centralized police system in the US. The foster care system has rampant abusive parenting issues, and the police lack enough centralized force that can keep officers accountable. The fact that the police unjustly murdered Ma’Khia Bryant during the George Floyd trial reveals just how broken our justice system is, and until we can fix that, there will be no true preventative justice for our Black Americans.