April 2021

Columbus Urban League April 21 statement on the death of Ma’Khia Bryant

The following is a statement from Columbus Urban League President & CEO Stephanie Hightower on the death of Ma’Khia Bryant::

“Just as we began to experience some sense of hope and healing from the murder of George Floyd, we lost one of our children. I grieve deeply for the loved ones who mourn Ma’Khia today. Losing a child is simply unthinkable. I also grieve for our entire community. One more precious life has been lost and, at the moment, we struggle with far more questions than answers about why.

“Was it necessary to shoot? Couldn’t officers have used another option to defuse and de-escalate? Wasn’t there a concern for the safety of other people on the scene? If this incident occurred in a white suburban neighborhood and teenage girls were fighting, would officers have chosen the same method to respond?

“We have no choice but to wait for more complete answers and greater clarity. But even as the experts investigate, even if they verify that the officer involved followed proper protocol, we need to ask ourselves if this is the kind of policing that our community needs and deserves. As noted by the federal George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, it is time that we re-examine our safety protocols to ensure they align with our values.

“I look to the day when everyone believes they can trust our front-line officers to save lives rather than take them.”

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