As activists hold protests for victims of police brutality, they ignore vital details about the case or paint an entirely different picture of the situation.
Activists need to acknowledge all the facts in each case before protesting, because the victim may not be completely innocent in each case.
Demonstrators have changed many facts and details about the case of Ma’Khia Bryant, a Black 16-year old girl who was killed by police in Columbus, OH.
Almost immediately after she was shot, protesters took to the streets to demand justice for her death. Many people were protesting before all the details about the case were released, and others had seen Facebook posts with false information.
One Facebook post said she called the police for help as she was about to be attacked and had a knife for self-defense. The post said the blade was on the ground and away from her when the officer arrived, but he opened fire and shot her four times.
Another Facebook post said that she called officers for help, and when they arrived on the scene, she approached them to explain, but they opened fire on her.
Family members of Bryant say she was using the knife in self-defense.
Later that evening, the Columbus police held a press conference and released body camera footage that disproved both Facebook posts.
Body camera footage from the officers on the scene and a neighbor’s wide-view shot from across the street shows that Bryant was the attacker.
When officers arrived, Bryant pushed another woman to the ground in front of officer Nicholas Reardon. Reardon took out his gun and turned to see Bryant holding a knife and pin another woman in pink against a car.
The officer commanded, “Get down! Get down! Get down!” but the young girl did not comply. As Bryant raised her knife, Reardon shot her four times.
While there may have been non-lethal ways to stop the attack, and it is troubling that the officer’s first instinct was to reach for his gun, activist groups refuse to acknowledge Bryant’s actions in the case..
Black Lives Matter and the ANSWER Coalition continue to tout the false claims in the social media posts to their supporters and using it to advocate for the abolishment of the police.
Activist groups have shown a pattern in some cases of excluding information and telling a different story when protesting in someone’s name. Their false stories fuel right-wing media’s attacks on their organizations and create distrust in the public.
Activists need to acknowledge all the facts in each case before protesting, because there are two sides to each story.