COLUMBUS – State Rep. Juanita O. Brent (D-Cleveland) released the following statement regarding the verdict reached in the Derek Chauvin trial for the murder of George Floyd and the April 20, 2021 murder of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant.
“Yesterday was another clear example that the system was never made for Black and brown people,” said Rep. Brent. “While accountability, not justice, was delivered in the Derek Chauvin trial for killing George Floyd, this is just another example of why the focus for police officers has to be de-escalation. For generations, we have seen countless accounts of excessive force by police on Black and brown people, including last night’s murder of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus.
“I spoke on the House floor against the recently enacted “Stand Your Ground” law because this law essentially makes it a crime to be Black and brown in America. Ma’Khia Bryant being murdered by a police officer while standing her ground confirms just how deadly this law is. De-escalation should have been the focus of the police officers in both the Bryant and Floyd murders instead of the police killing them by excessive force.
“Our police officers need to undergo trainings that include cultural competency, implicit bias, and de-escalation. We must also acknowledge and address the problematic police unions’ arbitration system that has allowed these injustices to continue. I have co-sponsored a number of bills to address the systemic racism that continues to take Black and brown lives, but these bills don’t even receive committee hearings.
“My thoughts are with the Floyd and Bryant family as they endure a trauma no one should be subjected to, but that all too many families in our nation have been. We owe it to George Floyd, Ma’Khia Bryant, and the countless others to develop a new system that will bring justice and change.”