U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and U.S. Representative Joyce Beatty have requested an investigation into the events leading up to the death of 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant.
The Democratic lawmakers, joined by Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, made the request to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the behalf of Ma'Khia's birth parents.
You can view a copy of the letter below.
Bryant was shot and killed by Columbus police officer Nicholas Reardon on April 20 while responding to a domestic dispute call.
In a news release, the lawmakers say Bryant spent two years moving between at least five different foster care homes.
"State-level data show that Ohio children are placed in the foster care system at a rate 10 percent higher than the national average. Despite research that shows that kinship care is beneficial to children’s health, well-being, and cultural identity, Ohio provides far less financial support to a child in state custody who is placed with a kinship caregiver than it gives to a child placed in a licensed foster care setting."
In the letter, the lawmakers said the federal government has an obligation to protect the civil rights of all individuals, especially children and parents involved in federally-funded child welfare systems.
“When a child dies in foster care, the system has failed. It failed Ma’Khia Bryant, who lived in her foster family home for about two months before a police officer shot and killed her in front of that home on April 20, 2021,” the lawmakers said.