Around the same time the world was learning that Derek Chauvin had been rightfully convicted of murdering George Floyd in Minneapolis, the cops murdered another Black person — this time in Columbus, Ohio. Ma’khia Bryant was only 16 years old.
Bryant herself had called the police for help because someone in her house was abusing her. She was defending herself with a knife when police showed up around 4:30 p.m. As reported on Facebook by Tay Jones, who says she witnessed the murder, the cops used the knife as an excuse to shoot Bryant four times in the chest. Jones stated that the white officer who murdered Bryant never even told her to put down the knife before shooting.
Bryant was taken to Mount Carmel East Hospital, where she died.
A group of protesters gathered in the street immediately after, chanting “No Justice, No Peace!” and speaking out against the murder. “She was a good kid. She was loving,” Hazel Bryant, Ma’khia’s aunt, told reporters. “She didn’t deserve to die like a dog in the street.”
As we’ve seen time and again, particularly with the recent murder of Adam Toledo in Chicago, police do not need a knife or any reason for them to murder children from Black and Brown communities. Police kill people, almost always with impunity, because policing as an institution is built on violently oppressing working-class communities, particularly communities of color.
The guilty verdict in the Chauvin trial is already being used in an attempt to lend legitimacy to the racist “justice” system. But in a genuine system of justice, Ma’khia Bryant, George Floyd, Adam Toledo, and all victims of police violence would still be alive today.
People must continue to take to the streets. The historic movement to demand justice for George Floyd that erupted last summer is a reminder that mobilizing in the streets against police violence is the key to getting killer cops put in jail and, one day, abolish the police altogether. This system won’t give us anything without a fight, but as the historic guilty verdict for Derek Chauvin demonstrates, it is possible to fight and win.
We demand justice for Ma’khia Bryant. Let’s fight for the full abolition of the racist cops and the brutal, repressive capitalist system they exist to protect