The case of Bresha Meadows, an Ohio 14-year-old accused of killing her father, has made national headlines and become a heated source of debate over the last month.
According to police reports, Meadows fatally shot her abusive father in July with his own .45-caliber, semiautomatic handgun while he was sleeping.
Meadows, now 15, is in a juvenile detention center charged with delinquency by reason of aggravated murder.
News has surfaced that prosecutors want to try her as an adult, which means that if she is convicted she would become the youngest inmate in the Ohio prison system, The Washington Post reports.
Sympathetic Twitter users launched a campaign Friday under the hashtag #FreeBresha in a show of solidarity with the young girl who they believe acted in self-defense.
#FreeBresha: We shouldn't allow a society that condones vigilantes & police killing without reason, but punishes Black girls for surviving.— The Slaves Singing (@williamcson) August 19, 2016
You don't jail heroes, you stand by them. #FreeBresha— Jaime Lopez (@Lopeezie) August 19, 2016
A 15-year-old girl should NOT be punished for defending herself and her family from abuse. #freebresha !!!— Monica Trinidad (@monicatea2) August 19, 2016
Meadows had reportedly run away from home in the past and sought help from relatives before things escalated to this point, but her pleas fell upon deaf ears.
Imagine if the $$ spent to incarcerate & prosecute was used for resources to prevent, escape & heal from violence instead. #FreeBresha— VictoriaLaw (@LVikkiml) August 19, 2016
After both the family and system failed to protect Bresha from her father, she protected herself. Now the system is her abuser. #FreeBresha— Lisa Sharon Harper (@lisasharper) August 19, 2016
Her father’s relatives are pushing for her to be tried as an adult — deeming her actions nothing more than “coldblooded murder” — but Meadows' mother insists that they just don’t know how he tormented their family at home.
“She is my hero,” Brandi Meadows, Bresha’s mother, told local reporters. “She helped me; she helped all of us so we could have a better life.”
Meadows’ father was allegedly physically, mentally, and emotionally abusive.
He reportedly used the very same gun he was killed with to threaten his wife and kids when he was angry. According to Meadows’ mom, she was an excellent student until the abuse began to take a toll on her.
“I watched my child deteriorate,” she said. “She went from being okay to nothing. He terrorized us. ”
Meadows’ mother said she had gone to the hospital and outpatient facilities approximately 20 times as a result of the abuse and she even filed a civil domestic-violence protection order against her husband back in 2011 that was eventually dismissed.
“In the 17 years of our marriage, he has cut me, broke my ribs, fingers, the blood vessels in my hand, my mouth, blackened my eyes. I believe my nose was broken,” she wrote in the report. “If he finds us, I am 100 percent sure he will kill me and the children … My life is like living in a box he created for me, and if I stepped out of that box, he’s there to put me back in that box.”
The sentiments expressed under #FreeBresha condemn the disturbing factors involved in this case including, the outrageous notion that a 15-year-old belongs in an adult prison and the fact that she asked for help and the system ignored her yet, they now want to punish her for taking matters into her own hands.
An online petition has been set up by the Bresha Meadows Freedom Campaign through OrganizeFor which calls for Meadows’ immediate release and all charges against her to be dropped. As of Friday morning, the petition had garnered more than 900 signatures and counting.
There is also a GoFundMe account on her behalf to raise funds to help pay for Meadows’ defense, as well as help her family relocate and begin a new life. The account has gained nearly $40,000 in donations, on track to reach its goal of $100,000.
Meadows’ case has become much bigger than her immediate family’s experiences; it has become a nationwide symbol of how domestic violence is treated in this country.
No matter how much she and her mother begged for help, it took this tragic, drastic measure for them to be heard.
Banner Photo Credit: Facebook user Roland Martin