Tawana Brawley’s funeral in Texas was an emotional moment for many of those who witnessed her death
MEADVILLE, Texas – A month ago, a reporter for a small newspaper in Texas got to know Tawna Brawly, a transgender woman from San Diego, as the story of a young girl who’d been killed by police and the media.
In the days that followed, she grew increasingly emotional, even as her family and friends continued to hold her family together, and as the case unfolded, she became even more determined to make sure people were paying attention.
“We’re going to do this for our kids,” she told me on the phone.
“I’m going to hold them accountable.
And I’m going be the voice that they hear.”
Brawleys death was a devastating, gut-wrenching loss for the Brawlings family and, perhaps more importantly, for the people who had followed the case from the start.
Tawana was 15 when she was killed by San Diego police.
Her death sparked nationwide outrage, led to the resignation of San Diego’s Police Chief and a federal investigation that ended in February.
She was buried on Wednesday at a church in San Diego.
In her final hours, Tawya’s family asked that the public pay their respects to Tawiana in private.
But that was before the video of her shooting was made public.
“We have to get people to pay attention to this case,” Brawlys family attorney, John C. Mello, told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
“It’s a very sad and tragic story.
It’s a case that has been a public issue for so long.
It needs to be brought to the attention of the general public.”
BRAWLY’S FAMILY’S MOURNING In an effort to make the public aware of the case and the aftermath of the shooting, Tawny Brawls, Tanya’s mother, reached out to a few media outlets that had covered the case.
The San Diego News-Press covered Tawla Brawlies murder in an article headlined “Tawna’s killer in custody.”
The New York Times covered the death of Tawyana BRAWLIS in a headline that read “Trayvon Martin’s mother says the teen was a victim of police mistreatment.”
A local TV station covered the case in a story titled “The family of Tawny Lynn Brawlis talks about her death in police custody.”
And The Washington Post covered the shooting of Taya Brawles in a piece titled “Mom talks about teen’s death in custody and calls for change in police department.”
All of these stories were met with some sort of negative response from some of the larger media.
But, Mello told me, it’s hard to say if those articles made a difference.
A headline on the local station read, “Tayyana’s family says it is holding police officers accountable for Tawnya’s death.”
“I can’t tell you how many times, as we were talking about Tawnyo’s death, we were getting the same kind of reaction from local television and local newspapers that we got from the national media,” Mello said.
“You just never know what’s going to happen.”
But after a week or two of being silent, the Brawlers finally got the chance to tell their story publicly, and it made a huge impact.
They spoke at length with the editor of a local television station and were told that the news was going to go viral.
At the time, the Broughls were still unsure if their son was alive or dead.
“We don’t want to be a burden on anyone, we don’t have to be told, ‘Tayys death is an accident,’ or, ‘Oh, Tawnys death was caused by a police officer,’ or anything like that,” Mandy Brawl said.
But when the news broke, they knew the national attention was the only thing that could help.
After that, they began receiving calls from people asking if they could donate to the family.
In the end, Brawlers family had a small donation for every 10,000 views they shared on Facebook.
At the end of that week, the San Diegans newsroom had reached out to all of the local outlets that covered the news and the local news outlets had also contacted the Briefings.
The local television news station contacted all of the SanDiegans stations asking them to give the BRAWLS family a special honor: “We are honored to offer Tawnyan Brawlyn a special mention on our local news and in our local newspaper.
We want to thank you for the outpouring of support, and we want to take this