Vera Institute of Justice on the Killing of 16-Year-Old Ma’Khia Bryant

Yesterday, Columbus, Ohio, police shot and killed Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old Black girl, as the country waited in anticipation for the verdict in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial. Ma’Khia Bryant needed help. Her death underscores that current emergency response systems don't keep Black and brown children and communities safe. Some coverage referred to Ma’Khia, a child, as a young woman. Research finds that adults view Black girls as less innocent and more adult-like than their white peers—a pervasive problem that we must address. Black girls and women frequently experience police brutality and their experiences should inform our calls for change in the criminal legal system.

Vera stands with communities across the country in condemning police violence and calling for a new vision of public safety. We need different, non-lethal, non-police responses to people in crisis. We will continue to demand transparency and accountability.

About the Vera Institute of Justice:

The Vera Institute of Justice is a justice reform change agent. Vera produces ideas, analysis, and research that inspire change in the systems people rely upon for safety and justice. Vera collaborates with the communities most impacted by these systems and works in close partnership with government and civic leaders to implement change. Across projects, Vera is committed to explicitly and effectively reducing the burdens of the justice system on people of color and frames all work with an understanding of our country’s history of racial oppression. Vera is currently pursuing core priorities of ending the misuse of jails, transforming conditions of confinement, providing legal services for immigrants, and ensuring that justice systems more effectively serve America’s increasingly diverse communities. Vera has offices in Brooklyn, NY; Washington, DC; New Orleans, and Los Angeles.