Family and Friends Gather for Funeral of 16-Year-Old Ma’Khia Bryant in Ohio

Mourners gather for the funeral for 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio, April 30, 2021. Bryant was fatally shot by a Columbus police officer during an altercation on April 20. (Paul Vernon/AP)

Ma’Khia Bryant was laid to rest in a funeral service at the First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio, Friday afternoon.

Bryant, 16, was fatally shot by white Columbus police officer Nicholas Reardon on April 20. Body camera footage from the incident showed Bryant with a knife.

Family, friends, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old emergency medical technician who was fatally shot by police in Louisville, Kentucky, in March 2020, gathered for the service, where a quilt bearing Bryant’s likeness was displayed on the stage.

The funerals for Casey Goodson Jr. and Andre Hill, two Black men who were killed by Central Ohio law enforcement in recent months, were held at the same church.

Jamal Harrison Bryant, the senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, quoted Martin Luther King Jr. in his opening remarks, saying, “We are here because injustice is here.”

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

A banner with portraits of Ma’Khia Bryant, a Black teenage girl fatally shot by police, is displayed next to her casket during her funeral in Columbus, Ohio, April 30, 2021. (Gaelen Morse/Reuters)
Paula Bryant, center, releases a butterfly in honor of her daughter, Ma’Khia Bryant, following the funeral for 16-year-old at the First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio, April 30, 2021. (Gaelen Morse/Reuters)

Don Bryant, Bryant’s cousin, said she loved the color blue and making hairstyle videos.

“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,” he said. “I look at every person in this church and say Ma’Khia did not have to die. She should be here.”

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

Ma’Khia Bryant in an undated selfie photo provided by family members Don Bryant and Paula Bryant. The 16-year-old was shot and killed by police as she swung a knife at two other people, April 20, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (Don Bryant and Paula Bryant via AP)

Emmanuel Anthony, the principal of the Academy for Urban Scholars High School, presented Bryant’s mother, Paula Bryant, with an honorary diploma at the service, spurring a round of applause from mourners.

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SOURCE: ABC News, Marlene Lenthang