Ma’Khia Bryant’s family, friends honor teen at funeral in Ohio

The principal of the Academy for Urban Scholars High School attended the service and gave Bryant's mother, Paula Bryant, an honorary diploma

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Ma’Khia Bryant has been laid to rest.

The funeral service for the young Ohio girl who was fatally shot by a police officer took place at First Church of God in Columbus on Friday.

Read More: Columbus mayor requests federal probe of police force following Ma’Khia Bryant shooting

The viewing started at noon followed by the service at 1 p.m., per ABC News.

The senior pastor, Jamal Harrison Bryant of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church kicked off his opening remarks quoting Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“We are here because injustice is here,” he said.

“We have to be mindful that today she should have been thinking about SATs, should’ve been thinking about going to prom,” he added. “The reality is we can’t sugarcoat the fact we should not be here today.”

Family and friends, including Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor’s mother, and Columbus mayor Andrew Ginther gathered for the service. Bryant’s cousin also spoke at the service about her tragic death.

“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. We look at her brothers and sisters who don’t understand why Ma’Khia had to die,” said her cousin, Don Bryant. “I look at every person in this church and say Ma’Khia did not have to die. She should be here.”

He added: “Ask yourselves, what are you doing to make sure no more Ma’Khias are taken from us?”

The 16-year-old liked to make hair tutorials and her favorite color was blue. The pallbearers wore bright blue ribbons on their chests in her honor.

The teen was shot and killed on April 20 by Columbus police officer Nicholas Reardon, who is white. According to Ginther, the officer was placed on paid leave after the incident occurred. An investigation is underway.

The leader of the First Church of God, Bishop Timothy Clarke, referenced police reform in his sermon.

“We’ll get Ma’Khia back when police training changes,” said Bishop Clarke. “We’ll get Ma’Khia back when white officers don’t see Black skin as a threat to them. We’ll get Ma’Khia back when we learn how to de-escalate, when we learn how to talk, when we learn how to communicate.”

Since January of last year Columbus, Ohio police officers have killed eight people.

The principal of the Academy for Urban Scholars High School also attended the service. He gave Bryant’s mother, Paula Bryant, an honorary diploma at the service. The room erupted in applause.

“Even though she was taken on a Tuesday, that’s not going to stop us from celebrating her early graduation this Friday,” he added. “As the principal for Urban Scholars High School, I want to present [an] honorary high school diploma.”

Michelle Martin, the attorney representing Bryant’s family is also requesting a federal investigation into the Department of Health and Human Services and the Ohio foster care system. Bryant was in their care at the time of her death.

The attorney did not disclose why Bryant was in foster care at the time of the shooting.

“At this point in time, I will not be offering up that information,” said Martin. “However, as the investigation is ongoing, the story of how Ma’Khia Bryant was placed in foster care and remained in foster care, we believe for too long, will unfold,” she said, per The Columbus Dispatch.

“We’re going to investigate every agency that had a time and an opportunity to prevent Ma’Khia’s death.”

She called the killing “a bureaucracy ill-equipped to protect” children “in their time of greatest uncertainty and need.” 

The outlet discovered documents stating that on March 19, 2018, Bryant, her younger sister, and two brothers, entered emergency custody of Franklin County Children’s Services.

The decision came after Columbus police responded to an incident at an unidentified home.

Bryant’s mother “emphatically denied all allegations of abuse.” The kids were home unsupervised.  

Ohio congresswoman Joyce Beatty also spoke at the teen’s home-going service. She is requesting justice be served for the slain young woman.

“I’m going to bestow this Congressional resolution to you,” she said. “We need to send a message. I go back to Washington in seven days and I will fly a flag over this nation in the name of Ma’Khia Bryant.”

Read More: Scottie Pippen’s son honored by mother following weekend funeral

The funerals for Casey Goodson Jr. and Andre Hill, two Black men who were recently killed by central Ohio law enforcement were held at the same church Bryant was laid to rest.

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