In August, Brandi Meadows said her 15-year-old daughter Bresha was her “hero” after she reportedly shot and killed her abusive father. But Cleveland, Ohio’s legal system saw different, charging the teen with aggravated murder, and now supporters are calling on those who back Black Lives Matter and #SayHerName to aid in urging Trumbull County, Ohio Prosecutor Dennis Watkins to drop all charges against Bresha.
In the early morning of July 28, Bresha, who was 14 at the time, shot her father in their home with the very gun he’d allegedly used to threaten her and her mother. According to Bresha’s attorney, Ian Friedman, “Bresha is a child that faced years of abuse at the hands of her father, and she witnessed her mother being abused,” Fox News reported. It’s for that reason that the Free Bresha Meadows Campaign was created to give Bresha a chance at a new life.
“Bresha Meadows is a child survivor of domestic violence who just turned 15 while incarcerated at the Trumbull County Ohio Juvenile Detention Center. Bresha is charged with aggravated murder for defending herself, and her family from a father who had a long history of abusing them. We demand that the Trumbull County Ohio Prosecutor’s office drop all charges against Bresha Meadows and release her immediately,” a petition created in Bresha’s honor states.
“Like Bresha, an estimated 15.5 million children in the U.S. are exposed to domestic violence each year. Girls and women incarcerated for actions taken in self-defense are disproportionately Black. 84% of girls incarcerated in the US experience family-based violence prior to being criminalized. Three women are killed per day in the US by a current or former partner, and 75% of these women are killed within hours, days or weeks after attempting to escape the abuse. Bresha’s father was also five times more likely to kill his victims because he owned a gun. Criminalizing Bresha in this context sends a harmful message to survivors and their children—that even in the most desperate of situations, they will be punished instead of helped.”
On October 4, the Freebresha.wordpress.com/blog site noted the teen, who remains in custody of the Trumbull County Juvenile Detention Center, had been placed on suicide watch and they also posted an open letter to Prosecutors calling for Bresha’s release. Nnennaya Amuchie , JD/MBA, wrote:
“As a legal professional, I am disappointed and frustrated with the ways our criminal legal system treats people who look like me. District attorneys have the discretion and power to bring forth charges. However, charges should reflect the benefit of the greater society, the harmed communities, and the effected family and friends. Who does it serve when a 15 year old child is charged for defending herself and her family from their abuser?
“One of the most difficult things is being a abused by someone who is supposed to protect and love you. There is nothing more traumatizing than a child living in an abusive home. The home serves as a safe space but a home cannot be safe if the structures in place do not also protect the home. When black girls and black women find no solace or protection the systems, they have to find ways to survive.”
When Bresha was taken into custody, her mother told Fox News, “She is my hero; I wasn’t strong enough to get out and she helped me.” Brandi had filed for a protective order against her 41-year-old husband Jonathan Meadows five years ago, but later dismissed the request. Today, October 6, “the prosecutor will determine if Bresha will be prosecuted for a crime (possibly charged as an adult) instead of given the support & safety that she needs,” the Free Bresha website notes. And that’s why organizers are calling on Black Lives Matter and #SayHerName supporters to also support Bresha at this time. Here’s a list of events happening around the country.