Press Release: Over 150 National and Local Organizations Urge Prosecutor to Drop All Charges against Bresha Meadows

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, May 2, 2017

15-year-old Bresha Meadows Punished for Self Defense
Over 150 National and Local Organizations Urge Prosecutor to Drop All Charges

#FreeBresha Campaign (freebreshameadows@gmail.com)

On May, 3, 2017, Bresha Meadows’ attorney will file a motion for her pre-trial release, arguing that continuing to incarcerate Bresha in juvenile detention amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.  The #FreeBresha campaign supports this motion and continues to demand that  Ohio prosecutors drop all charges against domestic violence victim Bresha Meadows.

Arrested in July 2016 at the age of 14, Bresha has since been incarcerated for an aggravated murder charge for defending herself against the unrelenting abuse of her father.  Bresha’s mother and siblings also endured years of her father’s physical beatings and death threats.  All of Bresha’s previous attempts to escape the violence were blocked by multiple systems that failed to support her, including Family Services and the police.  

Over 150 anti-violence and youth advocacy organizations have called for the release of Bresha Meadows, including national anti-domestic violence organizations like the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence and the National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community.  “Prosecuting Bresha Meadows is just one more failure to support this young girl’s life,” said Sumayya Coleman from Women of Color Network, Inc.  “We are concerned for the well-being of Bresha and all child survivors of domestic violence, and urge prosecutors to proactively work with anti-violence organizations to develop alternatives to incarceration for young people who are in crisis and need our support.”

Students across Ohio have also amplified the statewide call for Meadows’ release.  “We are rising up to demand that Bresha, like all child survivors of domestic violence, needs community support, not further traumatization by prosecution and incarceration,” said Prentiss Haney, the Executive Director of the Ohio Student Association.

The #FreeBresha campaign argues that prosecutors who continue to charge and detain Bresha after nine traumatizing months behind bars are repeating the state’s failure to support a Black child who is a victim of domestic violence.  “Like thousands of children who witness and experience violence in the home, Bresha was trapped in the impossible position of trying to survive without the help of supportive adults and institutions,” said Alisa Bierria, campaign organizer.  “84% of girls in juvenile detention have experienced family violence. Prosecuting children like Bresha is part of the cycle of abuse that devastates so many victims and their families.  The #FreeBresha campaign demands that we support rather than criminalize survivors of domestic violence like Bresha Meadows.”

Activists urge supporters to follow @freebresha on Twitter and Facebook and to check the campaign web site, FreeBresha.com, for updates and actions.  To learn more about the many cases of other survivors criminalized for acts of self-defense, visit survivedandpunished.org.

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