Say Her Name: Ma’Khia Bryant


The details are sketchy at this point and a number of important things, including how to spell her name and even her age are being reported differently in different places, but from the best information I have right now (which could easily change later):

A foster child, 15 years old, whose name was Ma’Khia Bryant, was being bullied and attacked by other foster kids, probably other girls. She called police for protection. At some point before police arrived (possibly even before she called them?) she acquired a knife to use in self-defense. When the police arrived there was some sort of altercation between Ma’Khia and at least one other girl. At this point she may or may not have been still holding the knife. It’s even possible that someone else had taken the knife from her, but I don’t consider that likely.

Police seeing a physical altercation with a knife involved shot to kill Ma’Khia, the girl who called desperate for protection. She is dead.

I don’t give a god damn if Ma’Khia had the knife in her hand and was swinging it: she was in state custody (unless this detail is also wrong, I fucking hate how different stories are saying different things, but none seemed to say that she **wasn’t** in state custody, it’s just that some stories don’t mention foster care at all), and the state owed her better. Even if there was an immediate necessity to protect the other child because Ma’Khia was swinging the knife, that only backs up responsibility from the cops to the foster system that shouldn’t have put her in that situation to begin with.

To make matters worse, the Mayor of Columbus, Ohio where Ma’Khia was killed called her a “young woman” who “lost her life”, probably between the couch cushions.

Ma’Khia was not a young woman. She was a child, a girl. It’s bad enough that the mayor would say such a thing, but it is much worse than that in that there is a long trend of Black children being treated as adults to maximize the blame that can be placed upon them while white young adults are called “children” or “teenagers” to minimize the blame that can be placed on them. Kyle Rittenhouse is a perfect example of the latter.

I’ll keep watching things, but FUCK THIS SHIT. I’m so sick and tired police violence. I’m so sick and tired of the government killing the people it has a duty to protect.

Comments

  1. says

    When I saw this story break, I started sobbing. I have never been a crier (tho my shrink feels very strongly that we need to work on that!), having choked down to the point of dissociation all unpleasant* expressions of emotion since early childhood. Whatever it was about this headline and that breaking news blurb that set off the waterworks, I don’t know. I just know that if it’s too overwhelming for me, I will never even begin to comprehend the depth of pain experienced by BIPOC communities directly affected by racist police violence.
    __________
    *unpleasant to my abuser(s), of course.

  2. says

    It’s incredible that this kind of thing happens at all, let alone that it keeps happening, or that it happens during a murder trial attempting to get police to clue into the idea that it’s not supposed to be happening.

    What does it take to get their attention? Well, I’d say start with an ass-whupping and go from there, but we’re not quite at that point, yet even though we should have passed it long ago.

  3. StonedRanger says

    I said it before and I will say it again. The police are not our friends. They are the enemy. When I found it amusing that the cops got their asses kicked on jan 6 I was excoriated. To those people I say: Suck a bag full of dicks. If you can still defend the police when they are killing so many innocents, then up yours. Abuse me all you want, it does nothing to change the facts that police are executing people with near impunity. One guilty verdict goes nothing to change this.

  4. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    StonedRanger
    I’m still pissed that the one time – the one time – that police should be using extreme violence, a violent attack on the Capitol Building with congress and the vice president inside, in an explicit attempt to overthrow the government – they play with kids gloves. I still maintain that the Capitol Police should have shot as many of the insurrectionists as would have been necessary to maintain the security of the congress-people.

    By contrast, police get hearsay that someone may have accidentally used a counterfeit 20. The result? A death sentence via slow agonizing suffocation.

    It’s so fucked up. Fuck the (American) police.

  5. marner says

    After watching the video, the shooting appears justified to me. There will be no charges against him.

  6. ardipithecus says

    And yet, WMDKitty is correct. The failure to protect is throughout all the things that led up to Ma’Khia Bryant’s rageathon.

  7. marner says

    @9 ardipithecus

    And yet, WMDKitty is correct. The failure to protect is throughout all the things that led up to Ma’Khia Bryant’s rageathon.

    This is true, We all have a lot to answer for.

  8. says

    If things like this happen in any other first-world country besides USA, then I completely fail to read about it, ever.

  9. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    I may have to put the lone voice out. I watched the video. It is true that the whole system failed her, but if someone is lunging at someone else like that with a knife, using lethal force to save the life of the would be stabbing victim is ok in my book.

    Let’s not unduly blame the individual cop, who may have done the best that they could as best as I can tell. Let’s blame the blameworthy people and blameworthy aspects of the system that led to this result.

  10. sonofrojblake says

    @marner, 8. Agreed.

    Say her name: the name of the girl in pink, pinned against the car, just about to be stabbed. Does anyone know her name, even?

    Two angles of video here, one from across the street. I actually feel sorry for the cop, relative rookie in a horrible situation who did, as far as I can see from the video, absolutely the right thing AND what I’d hope he’d do if the girl in pink was my daughter. Can anyone watch the video and disagree?

  11. sonofrojblake says

  12. says

    @Son of Roj Blake:

    Just FYI: when you include more than 3 links in a single comment you may be sent by the WordPress filter to moderation. If you include more than 5 links in a single comment, AFAICT you are always sent to moderation.

    I’m not that fussed by it because I only get 2-3 messages per day I need to read in the filter, but it does delay your comment showing up, possibly/sometimes for quite a while (especially since I don’t always visit my own blog every day – shocking but true).

  13. StevoR says

    @ sonofrojblake :

    Say her name: the name of the girl in pink, pinned against the car, just about to be stabbed. Does anyone know her name, even?

    Not sure but I think her name has been kept private and NOT disclosed deliberately as a minor. Therefore outside of the people who were there at the scene quite probly no one does know her name – or shouldn’t and shouldn’t release it publicly if they do?

    Also I don’t know enough about what went o and led up to Ma’Khia Bryant’s shooting but it seems likely that that girl in pink was oneof those who had been bullying and attacking Ma’Khia to the point where she called police – police who then resorted to deadly force and killed Ma’Khia. Ma’Khia Bryant is now dead and I wonder how that girl in pink now feels about that.

    I feel that you are kinda at least a bit victim-blaming the dead girl here, sonofrojblake.

    Were they other alternatives to shooting? Could they have fired a warning shot or hit her in the legs rather than torso? Did the officer need tofire that many times? Maybe?

    The outcome, Ma’Khia Bryant’s death is tragic, I don’t know if it could have been avoided for sure but I do think they might have tried harder to avoid it and, maybe, dare I say, would have tried harder to avoid it had Ma’Khia been a white child rather than a black one.

  14. Rob Grigjanis says

    StevoR @18: The two woman attacked by Bryant have been identified. They are not minors.

    it seems likely that that girl in pink was oneof those who had been bullying and attacking Ma’Khia to the point where she called police

    I have no idea where you get the “it seems likely”. It’s still not known who made the call. Bryant’s family and another witness claim Bryant made the call. But Bryant’s family also said Ma’Khia didn’t have a knife, which is not the case. The other witness also said the cop just shot Bryant without telling her to put the knife down. In fact, he yelled “get down!” four times. What you say may be what happened, but at this point “seems likely” is a stretch.

    I don’t know what you mean by “might have tried harder”. Maybe they could have got to the scene a bit earlier, which might have given them the time to de-escalate the situation. Too many “maybes”…

  15. StevoR says

    @ ^ Rob Grigjanis :

    I have no idea where you get the “it seems likely”

    Because of the way the situation was described and the fact that Ma’Khia was fighting with them. Why would she be doing that if they weren’t thepeopel who had been bullying and attacking her? It seesm a fairly logical inference to me. Person X has bcalled about person Y attacking them, you turn up and see people fighting each other, seems reasoable to conclude they are people X & Y rather than person Z doesn’t it?

    In fact, he yelled “get down!” four times.

    Did he? I missed that.

    I don’t know what you mean by “might have tried harder”.

    Well I actually suggested some ways he might’ve tried in my comment notably : “Could he have fired a warning shot or hit her in the legs rather than torso? Did the officer need to fire that many times?” Could he have tried to pyhsically grab her without using the firearm is another one I could add.

    Too many “maybes”…

    Yes. Plus too much eagerness to use deadly firearms aganst black teenagers in general and on Ma’Khia Bryant in this case in particular. She’s dead now because of that, because of what actually happened rather than the choice of other options that might have happened instead. I guess youcould say that the other person in pink is alive and could have been dead or badly injured by Ma’Khia too – but then also maybe not. That’s another ‘maybe’for us all to reflect on as well.

  16. StevoR says

    PS. Rob Grigjanis : From your own Snopes link :

    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/makhia-bryant-911-call-ohio-police/

    Its not clear and research is still going on with apparently clashing, conflicting accounts but :

    A woman named Tay Jones, who claimed to have witnessed the shooting, posted a video allegedly from the scene on Facebook. She also claimed that Bryant was the one who made the call to the police. At the 16 minute mark in the video below, she said Bryant was “defending herself. She called them for help, and I guess she ended up pulling the knife out.” She added that the police officer just shot Bryant, and didn’t even tell her to put the knife down.

    Bold added.

    I watched & listened to your link in #14 here and didn’t / couldn’t hear the cop, Nicholas Reardon, yelling “get down once” let alone four times. Might be my hearing and they had commentary over it so perhaps it was there but I didn’t hear it . Others can judge for themselves. It did seem he fired on here immediately without warning and repeatedly.

    From your other Global News link in # 19 :

    his split-second decision to shoot was commended by the national Fraternal Order of Police, who called it “an act of heroism, but one with tragic results.”

    https://globalnews.ca/news/7786124/makhia-bryant-fatal-shooting/

    Bold aded again.

    Heroism? Shooting a teenage girl in the back – yes, even if she was was threatening someone else at the time is hardly what I’d call “heroic.”” Effective and possibly arguably justified maybe but heroic – definitely not.

    That’s the article that you used to note the girls fighting with Ma’Khia weren’t minors which, ok I’ll grant you. Just barely. They were 20 and 22 respectively – so young adults whose brains haven’t finished forming and colloquially described by Ma’Khia’s aunt as “older kids” and,well, another maybe, should we extend the length of time we consider people “‘minors’?

    Incidentally, the wiki page on this police shooting :

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killing_of_Ma%27Khia_Bryant

    notes :

    Franklin County, where Bryant was killed, has one of the highest rates of fatal police shootings in the U.S.[16] Several Columbus police officers had recently been involved in controversial fatal shootings, including the killing of Andre Hill in December 2020, in which the officer was later charged with felony murder.

    Seems like another very rotten barrel of apples metaphorically speaking to me.

  17. says

    Let’s see–we have here a story about a police officer using lethal force against a girl. One comment observes that “If things like this happen in any other first-world country besides USA, then I completely fail to read about it, ever.” I find it telling that another comment in response to this one cannot find a single parallel, but instead cites five irrelevant stories, none of which involve the police in another “first-world country” killing a girl, or even a child. I don’t say such stories don’t exist, but this comment makes no distinction between a twenty-four-year-old man and a sixteen-year-old girl and is frankly worthless as a contribution to the topic under discussion.

    Its parting shot that “Tasers aren’t magic” (nobody said they were) cites a story in which police failed to subdue a man by means of a taser and so resorted to lethal force, thus proving, I guess, that tasers are worthless and lethal force should be the first resort. If tasers are so useless–and I admit to my ignorance on that topic–why are they being issued to officers in the first place?

    I would also note that it’s not hard to find examples of police in the United States managing to apprehend armed men without killing them. Maybe it wasn’t possible in this instance to avoid killing the girl (it does look that way to me, based on the videos I’ve seen and perfect twenty-twenty hindsight), but the outcome was bad, and there is nothing heroic about it. At best it was the final act in a series of unfortunate incidents.

    And I might add that the use of the say-her-name idiom in connection with the living Tionna Bonner is both tasteless and offensive.

  18. sonofrojblake says

    @StevoR:

    I think her name has been kept private and NOT disclosed deliberately as a minor

    You think wrong.

    I don’t know enough about what went o and led up to Ma’Khia Bryant’s shooting but….

    …you’re going to speculate wildly, and, it turns out, inaccurately.

    Ma’Khia Bryant is now dead and I wonder how that girl in pink now feels about that.

    Relieved? Given that she was in the process of being stabbed by Bryant at the time the shots were fired. I’m speculating of course, but then you started it. I feel more empathy for the cop, who is probably never going to stop asking himself if he could have handled it differently.

    I feel that you are kinda at least a bit victim-blaming the dead girl

    Did you WATCH the video? Damn right I’m blaming the knife-wielding attacker for the fact their attack didn’t go how they planned. “Victim”, pffft. You sound like the lawyer in the joke about the man on trial for killing both his parents: “Consider this poor orphan”.

    Were they other alternatives to shooting?

    Sure there were. At least one was tried, four times. It didn’t work. (You’d know this if you’d seen the video) You need to place the blame for that where it belongs, with Bryant.

    Could they have fired a warning shot or hit her in the legs rather than torso?

    You watch too many TV shows/movies. You’re certainly unqualified to handle a firearm if you think “hit her in the legs” is a thing that would work in reality.

    Did the officer need tofire that many times? Maybe?

    Did you watch the video? Because it really reads like you didn’t.

    I don’t know if it could have been avoided for sure

    Sure it could. Bryant could have got the fuck down when the cop shouted “Get down”.

    Or, option two, she could have got down when he shouted “Get down” again.

    Or, option three, she could have got down when he shouted “Get down” again, again.

    Or, option four, she could have got down when he shouted “Get down” for the last time. I’m pretty sure if any of those things had happened, she wouldn’t have got shot.

    Hell, I’m pretty sure that even if she HADN’T got down, but just dropped the knife instead of actively moving to stab another human with it, she wouldn’t have got shot.

    All of this is, of course, speculation, but to suggest there was no other possible outcome is ridiculous.

    Why would she be [attacking the woman she tried to stab] if they weren’t thepeopel who had been bullying and attacking her?

    What is your evidence she was being bullied? The testimony of the people who said she didn’t have the knife she was visibly wielding in the video?

    Did he[warn her to get down]? I missed that.

    You can see why it reads like you have absolutely no idea what it is you’re talking about.

    Could he have tried to pyhsically grab her without using the firearm is another one I could add

    Would YOU go up against a knife-wielding assailant that size with your bare hands, when you have an alternative? Cops are humans too and deserve to go home at the end of a shift uninjured.

    too much eagerness to use deadly firearms aganst black teenagers in general and on Ma’Khia Bryant in this case in particular. She’s dead now because of that

    Um… no. She’s dead now because she tried to FUCKING STAB SOMEONE literally right in front of an armed cop who was telling her to stop.

    the girls fighting with Ma’Khia weren’t minors which, ok I’ll grant you. Just barely.

    The WOMEN BEING ATTACKED BY Ma’Khia weren’t minors “just barely”??? TWENTY TWO is “just barely” not a child?

    And finally, @ sbh, 22:

    cannot find a single parallel, but instead cites five irrelevant stories

    Five stories of knife-wielding criminals shot by police. I mean, you can try to make gender relevant, but rather the point of a weapon is that it’s an equaliser. The fact that this woman was, y’know, a woman is what’s irrelevant given that she was, at the risk of repeating myself, literally in the act of stabbing another human when shot. I’d hate to think cops would hesitate to shoot in a situation like that simply because of the apparent gender of the assailant.

    police failed to subdue a man by means of a taser and so resorted to lethal force, thus proving, I guess, that tasers are worthless

    You guess wrong. What it does prove is that tasers have their place, and expecting them to subdue a criminal literally in the act of stabbing another human is not that place. Asking “couldn’t you just have tased them?” merely demonstrates ignorance of the issues. Tasers are NOT worthless – they’re a useful threat and they can subdue non-compliant suspects non-lethally under certain circumstances, but they are absolutely not to be relied upon in immediate life-and-death situations. And if you don’t know that, commenting on why they weren’t used instead of guns just makes a person look at best uninformed.

    it’s not hard to find examples of police in the United States managing to apprehend armed men without killing them

    A link, then, please, to a story or two about armed men literally in the act of attacking someone else being apprehended non-lethally.

    I might add that the use of the say-her-name idiom in connection with the living Tionna Bonner is both tasteless and offensive.

    Not as offensive, in my opinion, as invoking it in connection with her violent attacker.

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