By: Nessa Purdy
On Aug. 24, an Ohio police officer fatally shot Ta’Kiya Young in her car in Blendon Township. Ohio authorities released body cam footage showing two police officers approaching the 21-year-old pregnant mother of two to interrogate her about alleged shoplifting.
The video depicts one officer at Young’s car window, while the other officer has his left hand on the hood of the car and a gun in his right hand. Just moments before the officer standing in front of her car fires the fatal shot, Young is heard saying “Are you going to shoot me?” The body cam video then shows the two officers breaking Young’s car window to stop the car after it rolls into a brick wall near the shop entrance.
Both officers claimed they attempted to give medical aid to Young, but neither she nor her unborn child survived. The Blendon Township police department has not identified either of the police officers. While the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is assessing the shooting, the officer who fired the shot that killed Young is on paid administrative leave, while the other officer has returned to duty.
The Ohio Attorney General has not yet decided whether to treat her death as a homicide. A witness who was in the Kroger grocery store claimed that he saw Young put down the bottles of alcohol before leaving the store, stating, “[Young] did not commit any theft, and so these officers were not even within their right to place her under arrest, let alone take her life.” However, the Blendon Town Police Force claims the officers had to make a “split second decision.” Edward Obayashi, an attorney specializing in vehicular police shootings, explained that the officer who shot Young went against his police training by standing in front of Young’s car. The family’s attorney, Sean Walton, gave a statement to AP News explaining the family’s anguish at the injustice saying, “More than anything, there was … a sense of just devastation, to know that this power system, these police officers, could stop her and so quickly take her life for no justifiable reason.”
Young’s family explained she was expecting to give birth to a daughter in November. Walton declared that her two sons, 6-year-old Ja’Kobie and 3-year-old Ja’Kenlie, have not been able to comprehend what happened to their mother. Nadine Young, Ta’Kiya Young’s grandmother, stated that her granddaughter’s death “should have never, ever, ever happened.”
(Sources: AP News, BBC, Washington Post)