There are growing calls for justice and accountability in the wake of the newly released bodycam video footage of a police officer shooting and killing an unarmed pregnant Black mother of two in Ohio last week.
Ta’Kiya Young died on Aug. 24 after a Blendon Township police officer fired directly into her windshield when she refused to get out of her car in a supermarket parking lot. Police say she was suspected of stealing alcohol – a misdemeanor – but at least one witness has reportedly refuted that claim.
In the footage, an officer is shown demanding Young, 21, get out of her car for the suspicion of stealing alcohol from a Kroger. Young’s voice is muffled but it’s clear she is refusing to do so.
The video footage is graphic and nature and should be viewed with discretion. You can view it by clicking here.
Another officer, identified as Connor Grub, then approaches and stands directly in front of Young’s car and uses expletives to order her out. When Young’s car slowly crept forward, Grub immediately fired off a single fatal shot directly through the windshield at close range.
Blendon Police Chief John Belford said Young put her car in drive and accelerated toward an officer.
The release of the bodycam video was delayed until Friday when edited versions of the footage were made public following demands for transparency from Young’s family and the community.
Young’s family released a statement through their lawyer not only calling for “swift” accountability but also criminal charges against the officer for killing the 21-year-old as well as robbing her unborn child of the right to live.
“Having viewed the footage in its entirety, it is undeniable that Ta’Kiya’s death was not only avoidable, but also a gross misuse of power and authority,” the statement from Young’s family and attorney Sean Walton said in part. “As if the pain of losing Ta’Kiya isn’t enough, we must grapple with the knowledge that her unborn daughter was also robbed of her life in this hateful act.”
Young’s family lamented that her young sons would now be forced to grow up without their mother in their lives because Grub resorted to using lethal force when he had any number of other choices for how to proceed without deadly implications.
While they also called for the Blendon Township Police Department training and policies around use of force to be revisited, Young’s family wants Grub fired, arrested and criminally prosecuted.
“This incident goes beyond the obvious policy violations that occurred. After seeing the video footage of her death, this is clearly a criminal act and the family demands a swift indictment of this officer for the killings of both Ta’Kiyah and her unborn daughter,” the statement added. “We stand united with those in our community and beyond in pursuit of justice.”
At a protest Friday night in the nearby capital city of Columbus, attendees suggested the police had something to hide and were not being as transparent as they should be.
“I want them to receive all the footage,” Kiara Yakita told ABC6. “What happened to the Kroger surveillance cameras? There’s cameras in the parking lots.”
But the police have suggested that the officers involved, including Grub who fired the fatal shot, could be considered a victim in the shooting, too.
“When Ms. Young drove her car directly at Officer #1, striking him, Officer #1 became a victim of attempted vehicular assault. Because Ms. Young is deceased, charges obviously cannot be filed, but – under state law – the crime victim status of Officer #1 remains,” Chief Belford said in a statement.
“When Ms. Young pulled away from Officer #2 while his hand and part of his arm was still in the driver’s side window, Officer #2 became a victim of misdemeanor assault,” Belford added. “Because Ms. Young is deceased, charges obviously cannot be filed but – under state law – the crime victim status of Office #2 remains.”
Likewise, the local police union said Grub shooting Young could be within the limits of the law.
“Based on my training experience, from what I saw in that video that day, I understand why it could be justified,” Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 9 Executive Vice President Brian Steel told Fox 28.
“When a police officer gives you a command, please follow that command,” Steel also said.
Walton, the attorney representing Young’s family, said before the bodycam video footage was released that the pregnant mother was the only victim.
“Ta’Kiya was in a state of flight from the moment she was allegedly pointed out to the officers until her life was taken,” Walton previously said in a statement. “She is the victim here, and we demand accountability for the loss of two precious lives — Ta’Kiya and her unborn daughter.”
As of Saturday, a GoFundMe account set up for Young has already exceeded its $5,000 goal. Donations are still being accepted and can be made by clicking here.
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