May 10, 2021

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Ma’ Khia Bryant is given posthumous diploma at funeral

The Black teenager gunned down by police in Ohio during a fight was given a posthumous diploma at her funeral.

Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, was fatally shot by an officer in Columbus on the same day that Derek Chauvin was convicted of the murder and manslaughter of George Floyd.

The youngster was remembered at an emotional ceremony in the city as an investigation into the killing continues.

Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor, another Black woman killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky, attended the service.

“Today, the family is sad. The family is hurt. The family is angry. We look at a grieving mother and father, who miss their daughter so much,” said Ma’Khia’s cousin Don Bryant.

“This was a child that had so much love in her heart,” he added.

“A smart girl, capable, and deserving of fulfilling all her hopes and dreams in this world.”

And he continued: “Say her name as a reminder of the loving kind person she was.

“Say her name as a reminder that change doesn’t just happen by offering words or talking about it.

“What are you doing to make sure no more Ma’Khias are taken from us?”

Emmanuel Anthony, principal of the Academy of Urban Scholars High School where Ma’Khia was a student, presented her family with a diploma for her.

“This tragedy hits differently for me, because I looked at Ma’Khia as one of mine,” said Mr Anthony.

“In every crisis, there is also an opportunity. While we have a crisis in America with racism, and police killing unarmed Black men and women — and not even sparing our children — we also have an opportunity in the Black community to go back to that collective and community mindset, to say that even though this child didn’t come from me, this is still one of my children.”

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and City Attorney Zach Klein have reportedly sent a letter to the US Department of Justice asking it to review the city’s police department.

Police officials have named the officer who shot and killed Ma’Khia as Nicholas Reardon, who started working for the department in December 2019. 

He fired four shots when he saw Ma’Khia swing a knife at another girl involved in the incident.

Officer Reardon was placed on paid leave following the shooting.