In 2010, Marissa Alexander, a mother of three from Jacksonville, FL, was violently attacked by her abusive, estranged husband. Just nine days after giving birth, Marissa’s husband strangled her, and tried to prevent her from escaping her home. Marissa was able to make it to the garage where her car was parked but could not open the garage door. Trapped, she retrieved her permitted gun from the car and re-entered her home where her husband lunged at her, yelling, “Bitch, I will kill you.” At that moment, Marissa fired a single warning shot upwards into the wall, causing no injuries, but saving her life.
On May 22, 2017, 15 year old Bresha Meadows accepted a plea deal that would reduce the charge against her of aggravated murder to involuntary manslaughter with a gun specification. Bresha, as a part of the plea deal, was sentenced to “a year and one day” in juvenile incarceration, at least six months in a treatment facility, and two years of probation. Essentially, Bresha will be transferred to a private treatment center on July 30th during which doctors will evaluate her and determine if she needs to stay in treatment longer. When Bresha is released from treatment, she will spend two years on probation. Her family is relieved that they will be able to see Bresha and have her home much sooner than expected. The #FreeBresha campaign supports Bresha and her family, and also sees plea deals as coercive, denying people agency and choice under the threat of long-term incarceration, exorbitant fees, and civic death. Below is our statement. –Deana Lewis, #FreeBresha Campaign and Love and Protect
On July 28, 2016, Bresha Meadows, a fourteen-year-old girl, took defensive action to save her family – her mother, her siblings and herself – from her father’s continued abuse. This was not Bresha’s first choice, nor was it her first attempt to end the abuse. Bresha endured trauma until she could do so no longer and she allegedly shot her father.