The Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement on the police shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old Black girl, in Columbus, Ohio. According to the Columbus Dispatch, the shooting happened about 20 minutes before the guilty verdict was announced in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis Police Officer who killed George Floyd.
“We are heartbroken and we are angry,” said Laura Robertson-Boyd, volunteer with the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Our brief sigh of relief at the rare moment of accountability for George Floyd’s murder was cut abruptly short as we heard about the shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant. She should be alive today and we will stand with the community as they call for an investigation and for accountability. We need fundamental changes to our systems — across the country and right here in Columbus where Black people continue to die at the hands of police.”
“Black lives matter. Black children matter,” said Mitchell Pinsky, a volunteer with Students Demand Action at The Ohio State University and member of the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board. “While the murder of George Floyd ended with some measure of accountability, shootings like Ma’Khia’s show that we still have a long long way to go. Ma’Khia Bryant had her entire life before her, and it was cut short by those who are supposed to protect and serve our children. We must honor Ma’Khia by fighting for accountability and the long overdue changes to the racist system that has killed, rather than protected, too many Black kids.”
Last December, a Columbus police officer shot and killed Andre Hill, a 47-year-old Black man, when responding to a non-emergency call. Weeks before, a sheriff’s deputy shot and killed Casey Goodson Jr., a Black 23-year-old at the door of his house in Columbus while his family was inside.
Black people in the United States are nearly three times more likely to be shot and killed by law enforcement than their white counterparts, and data from Mapping Police Violence shows that most people killed by police are killed with guns. Additionally, 99% of fatal shootings by the police from 2013-2019 did not result in officers being charged with a crime. In an average year, 6 people are shot and killed by police in Columbus.