Last Tuesday, April 20th, barely an hour after the announcement of the Derek Chauvin guilty charges, Columbus Police murdered Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16 year-old girl, who called police for help. We condemn this act and we call it what it is. This is yet another instance of white supremacist murder by a white supremacist police force. Ma’Khia Bryant should still be alive today.  

The Chauvin verdict rang hollow in Columbus as we saw, again, that it is not one bad cop. It is not one police department or even a handful of police departments. This entire system is built upon white supremacy and empowers and encourages more Black death than is comprehensible. Columbus Police continue to murder us, with impunity, for any number of reasons. They name themselves the judge, jury, and executioner at the expense of our safety and our freedom. No amount of reform will change this. Their sole purpose is to harm, enslave, and kill us. 

With transparency, it has taken us days to release this statement because this has been an incredibly difficult loss. Constantly watching each other die is not healthy. It is traumatic and terrifying. We have seen two children murdered by police in as many weeks: Adam Toledo in Chicago and Ma’Khia Bryant in our own backyard. Immediately after they were murdered at the hands of police, both children were criminalized and vilified by the public uplifting cop narratives. It is unconscionable that so many in our community were eager to justify the trigger-eager murder of a child. We do not trust the police to deliver fair perspectives of their actions, especially one that ends in death. We do not do the work of cops for them. We do not uplift cop narratives. We are baffled at the response and we will not tolerate it on our platforms nor in our discourse.

Adam Toledo and Ma’Khia Bryant, at the end of the day, were 13 and 16 years old, respectively, and deserved to live. The melanin in their skin should not discredit them from humanity; they were worthy of love and protection from the vitriol and hatred of this country. Black and brown children are constantly being denied their childhood, their innocence, their fears and their anger. They are perceived as older, bigger, and more violent, even and especially when that is wholly untrue. There is an alternative where both of them would be alive today, no matter what was in their hands.

We know that this is not possible with the continued existence of a racist, sexist, transphobic, police force. In response, we have created demands centered on Ma’Khia’s death as we continue to fight towards justice for so many other families within our city. 

Our demands are as follows: 

  • We demand an immediate freeze of all financial support to the Columbus Police Department. 
  • We demand a freeze on hiring any new police officers. 
  • We demand the firing, without pay and pension, of all officers that were involved in the murder of Ma’Khia including those screaming Blue Lives Matter directly after killing her. 
  • The immediate release of all evidence to the family of Ma’Khia Bryant.
  • The coverage of all funeral expenses by the city of Columbus from the CPD budget.
  • We call for the immediate defunding and divesting from Columbus Police Department by 50%
  • We call for an immediate reinvestment into our local communities and communities of care by 50%.
  • We call for the resignation of Mayor Andrew Ginther for demonizing Ma’Khia and telling the public her death was justified before an investigation even began. 
  • We demand an investigation into the foster home and an immediate removal of any and all children in the current care of the foster parents at the time of Ma’Khia’s death. 
  • We demand that CCS do not renew their contract with CPD for SROs in schools indefinitely and redirect funding to counselors. CPD cannot be trusted with the lives of our children.

BQIC calls for the abolition of police and of the police state. We can begin taking concrete steps to get there. A few of those steps are listed above. We call for a culture of transformative justice and accountability, rather than punitive measures. We dream of a future where our children are given the care they need. We dream of a future where our children are held in love. We dream of a world where our children are alive and can thrive in community.