In a tragic incident that has sparked outrage and demands for justice, a 21-year-old pregnant Black woman named Ta'Kiya Young was shot and killed by police in a parking lot in Blendon Township, Ohio, on August 24th. According to police, Young, who was suspected of shoplifting, was fatally shot after she allegedly accelerated her car towards an officer. Tragically, her unborn daughter did not survive.
The release of the body-camera footage capturing the final moments of Young's life has been highly anticipated. The footage was expected to be made public on Friday, but concerns have been raised about the timing of its release. The family's lawyer, Sean Walton, alleges that the police department deliberately delayed the release to minimize media attention on potentially damaging footage. However, Blendon Township Police Chief John Belford explained that the delay was due to the small staff handling the processing and redaction of certain footage, in accordance with Ohio law. He also assured that the family would have the opportunity to review the video before it is made available to the public.
Chief Belford provided a brief account of the incident in a video statement released on August 25th. He stated that two officers were assisting someone in unlocking a car when a supermarket employee informed them about several individuals leaving with stolen items. Young was reportedly among those identified by the employee, who pointed her out sitting in her car in the parking lot. Allegedly, she had taken bottles of alcohol without paying. One officer approached the driver's side of Young's car, repeatedly instructing her to stop and get out, while the other officer positioned himself in front of the vehicle. Belford revealed that Young then put the car in gear and accelerated towards the officer, prompting the officer to fire one shot through the front windshield. The body-camera footage reportedly supports the claim that the officer was directly in the car's path.
Unfortunately, further details about the moments leading up to Young's shooting have not been provided by the police. After being shot, her car continued for approximately 15 meters before coming to a stop on the sidewalk outside the grocery store. Officers broke the car window, pulled Young out, and immediately began providing medical assistance with the aid of an emergency room doctor who happened to be present. The two officers involved in the incident have not had their names, ages, or races released to the public. They have been placed on paid administrative leave while the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation conducts an examination into the shooting, which is standard procedure in cases involving police use of deadly force.
Young, who was due to give birth to a daughter in November, leaves behind two young sons aged 6 and 3. In the wake of her tragic death, an online campaign to raise funds for her funeral expenses has garnered nearly $7,000. Family and friends gathered for a private vigil to remember and honor Young, releasing balloons and lighting candles that spelled out "RIP Kiya." During a press conference, Young's grandmother, Nadine Young, tearfully described her granddaughter as a family-oriented prankster who was a loving older sister and mother. She expressed deep sorrow over the loss and emphasized that the incident should never have occurred.
As the community mourns the loss of Ta'Kiya Young and her unborn child, calls for transparency and accountability in the investigation into her death continue to grow louder. The release of the body-camera footage is expected to shed more light on the circumstances surrounding the tragic shooting and will likely serve as a pivotal piece of evidence as the case unfolds.
themes: Shooting Ohio