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Gabrielle Union expresses outrage after Columbus police shooting: 'We didn't get justice'

Jenna Ryu, USA TODAY
·5 min read

Gabrielle Union is sharing her emotional struggle with being a Black parent in response to the death of Ma'Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old Black girl killed by police Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio, just before a jury convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd.

Union shared a video of Bryant doing a hair tutorial on Instagram and described how she felt about the conviction of Chauvin juxtaposed with Bryant's death.

"I was asked yesterday if I felt that justice had been served and if I felt any peace. At the time I felt numb. I had no words to describe what any of this feels like as a Black parent," Union captioned the post. "Then rage. Boiling, bubbling anger that collectively we have had to lose sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, friends, beloved community members and soooooo many damn CHILDREN...to get 1 conviction."

She continued: "So no, I don't feel peace and we didn't get justice. I want everyone to see this babygirl. See her joy. See her life force. She should be here with us. There is no excuse. Rest in eternal peace babygirl. We will continue to say your name and fight for real justice and the hope to one day know peace."

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Body cam footage shows an officer getting out of his car at a house where police had been dispatched after someone called 911 saying they were being physically threatened. The officer takes a few steps toward a group of people in the driveway when the girl starts swinging a knife wildly at another girl or woman, who falls backward. The officer shouts several times to get down.

Ma'Khia Bryant: What we know about the Columbus police shooting of the 16-year-old girl

More celebrities reacted to the shooting, with Kehlani calling for reform.

"ABOLISH THE (expletive) POLICE. the same day we 'celebrate' a verdict for another loss that shoul've (sic) never happened, a Black child is murdered. ABOLISHMENT IS THE ONLY ANSWER," Kehlani wrote.

The singer continued, adding that Bryant was "calling the police for help."

"what is 'justice.' what does that verdict mean. what does it stop?"

George Takei called an end to "end police terror."

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"We cannot even have a moment of justice before another Black life is taken by the police, this time a teen named Ma'khia Bryant in Columbs, Ohio who called them for help. Instead, they shot her four times," he wrote.

Kerry Washington tweeted: "This emotional rollercoaster of Black mourning and injustice is treacherous. We get a tiny window of accountability and then more devastation. The need for reckoning and reform is undeniable."

Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman noted that Bryant was a child.

"& my heart rips again. Ma'Khia Bryant was a child. A child. A child," Gorman tweeted.

Justin Timberlake evoked in a tweet the #SayHerName hashtag, which has been used to spotlight Black women killed by police.

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After tweeting "Guilty. Guilty. Guilty" in response to Chauvin's conviction, Dan Levy responded to Bryant's death and wrote: "MURDER SHOULD NOT BE A GO-TO METHOD OF 'POLICING.' "

Jennifer Hudson shared a photo of Bryant and tweeted out her name.

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Alyssa Milano added that "it's not a few bad apples. It's the entire tree. From the roots all the way up to the branches that touch the sky. It's rotten. We must do better."

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Kathy Griffin expressed outrage on Twitter, noting Bryant's young age.

"How in the hell does this police officer think it's a good idea to fire shots blindly into a group of teenagers having a fight? Yes one of them has a knife," Griffin said. "Oh, that never happened in your school or neighborhood? She didn't deserve to die. 16 years old."

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"Justice League" actor Ray Fisher urged his followers to "say her name: #Makhia Bryant," while Lili Reinhart shared condolences to Bryant's loved ones.

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"My heart breaks for this angel's mother. Ma'Khia Bryant...your name will be remembered. Let's honor her tonight," Reinhart tweeted.

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In the body cam footage, the teenager appears to swing a knife at a girl who is on the hood of a car, and the officer fires his weapon what sounds like four times, striking the girl.

A man immediately yells at the officer, “You didn’t have to shoot her! She’s just a kid, man!”

'I'm in tears': Mariah Carey, Oprah, more stars react to Derek Chauvin guilty verdict

The shooting, which happened about 20 minutes before a guilty verdict was announced in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, prompted hundreds to protest at the shooting site and outside Columbus police headquarters Tuesday night. Interim Columbus Police Chief Michael Woods said the investigation still needs to be completed to determine if the actions of the officers were justified.

Ohio shooting: Police release bodycam footage of officer fatally shooting Black teen

Contributing: The Columbus Dispatch; Farnoush Amiri, The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Columbus police shooting: Celebrities react to Ma'Khia Bryant's death