Authorities in Ohio on Friday released police body-camera video showing the fatal police shooting of Ta’Kiya Young, a young Black woman who was pregnant. Young’s family had seen the video, the family’s lawyer said.
The footage showed Young slowly accelerating toward an officer in her path as he yelled for her to stop before firing the single bullet that ended her life.
The 21-year-old from Columbus was pronounced dead shortly after the 24 August shooting outside a grocery store in Blendon Township. Her unborn daughter did not survive.
The footage showed an officer at the driver’s side window, repeatedly demanding Young “get out of the car”.
Sean Walton, an attorney for the Young family, said on Thursday the family grew frustrated with delays in the police department timeline of releasing body-camera footage. He said the community would be outraged.
“She was an unarmed pregnant mother of two,” he said. “It goes beyond the unjustifiable.”
The Blendon Township police chief, John Belford, said the delay resulted from a small staff trying to process the video and properly redact certain footage in accordance with Ohio law.
A spokesperson for the Blendon Township police union criticized Walton’s characterization of the shooting, saying the case remained under investigation.
Calling Walton a “modern-day ambulance chaser”, union spokesperson Brian Steel added: “The fact is (the officer) had to make a split-second decision while in front of a moving vehicle, a 2,000-lb weapon.”
In a video statement a day after the shooting, Belford said two officers were helping someone get into a locked car when a supermarket employee told them several people were leaving with stolen items.
Young was among them, according to the employee, who pointed her out sitting in her car. She allegedly took bottles of alcohol without paying. One officer went to the driver’s side of Young’s car and told her to stop and get out multiple times, Belford said, while the other officer moved to the front of the vehicle. Young then put the car in gear and accelerated, Belford said.
“The officer who was directly in the path of the oncoming car fired one shot through the front windshield,” the chief said. “The body-camera footage I’ve reviewed also confirms the officer was directly in the path of the car.”
Police have not provided further details.
Her car continued about 50ft before stopping on the sidewalk outside the grocery store. Officers broke the car window, pulled Young out and began medical assistance with the help of an emergency room doctor who happened to be there, Belford said.
The two officers’ names, ages and races were not immediately released. They were on paid administrative leave while the Ohio bureau of criminal investigation examines the shooting, standard in cases of police use of deadly force.
Young was expected to give birth to a daughter in November. By Friday, an online effort to pay her funeral expenses had raised nearly $7,000.
Her siblings, cousins, grandmother and father have rallied around her sons, six-year-old Ja’Kobie and three-year-old Ja’Kenlie, who do not yet understand what happened to their mother, Walton said.
“It’s a large family and Ta’Kiya has been snatched away from them,” Walton said. “I think the entire family is still in shock.”
Family and friends held a private vigil a day after Young was killed, releasing balloons and lighting candles spelling out “RIP Kiya”.
Her grandmother, Nadine Young, described her granddaughter as a family-oriented prankster and loving older sister and mother.
“She was so excited to have this little girl,” Nadine Young told reporters on Wednesday. “She has her two little boys, but she was so fired up to have this girl. She is going to be so missed.
“I’m a mess because it’s just tragic but it should have never ever ever happened.”